The Passion Play had a core cast of fifteen characters, and as many extras as possible to play the crowd. Everyone who followed the play became in a sense part of the cast! Using some of the interviews on the video together with the questions below make a study of the People of the Passion. This could be the basis of a series of group Bible Studies, or a way of examining what happened at the first Easter and the impact Jesus had on different people.
How would you summarise the teaching of Jesus? How did Jesus break down barriers? How did he respond to conflict, to betrayal and to the prospect of his death? Think of the words he shared at the Last Supper and the words he spoke from the cross - what comfort do they bring? In what way is Jesus alive today?
Of the four main disciples in our play one lets Jesus down and another betrays him. What did Peter make of Jesus and all that he stood for? How did he feel when he let Jesus down? Which words of Jesus from the cross would have meant most to him? What difference did the resurrection of Jesus make to Peter?
Why did Judas betray Jesus? Our play gives words of dissent among the disciples to Judas from the beginning of the play. It also links the fourth blessing and the fourth woe to Judas in Luke 6:22 and 26. How did he feel afterwards? Which words of Jesus at the Last Supper and from the cross would speak most to someone in the position of Judas? Which of the disciples do you most identify with at the Resurrection?
Thinking of the story of the woman in the crowd, Mary Magdalene and the woman at the well, in what ways did Jesus break down barriers between men and women? What would it have been like to have been the mother of Jesus while he was teaching (see Matthew 12:46-50), on the road to the cross, at the cross and at the resurrection? Is there any special way that we can identify with her?
Caiaphas, Annas, and Joseph of Arimathea, Religious leaders at the time of Christ, were played by ministers, clergy and church leaders today. Why do you think the religious leaders were opposed to Jesus? Would Jesus come into conflict with religious leaders today? Of the religious leaders one, Joseph of Arimathea was sympathetic to Jesus - what do you think it would have been like for him to have stood up and be counted? See Luke 23:50-56.
Civic Leaders ... and the CrowdPilate and Herod were played by the Mayor and Town Crier of Cheltenham - why were the civic leaders opposed to Jesus? Would Jesus come into conflict with civic leaders today? Where would he take his stand today? The Centurion recognised in Jesus someone very special, the Son of God - what would it have felt like for him to stand up and be counted? Why did the crowd swing from support of Jesus to hostility towards him ... would you have gone along with the crowd, or been willing to stand out from the crowd?