Freed From Death's Clothes

Lazarus coming out of the grave

Freed From Death’s Clothes

Adapted from John 11:1-44 NIV

By Andrea Christenson

A reader’s theater for four parts.

Reader Two is written for a female voice, and Reader Three for a male. 

Readers One and Four can be male or female.


Reader One:

Once there was a man named Lazarus. He lived in the village of Bethany and was the brother of Mary and Martha. Lazarus grew very ill.

Reader Two:

So the sisters sent a message to Jesus saying “Lord, the one you love, Lazarus our brother, is sick.”

Reader Three:

When Jesus heard this news he said “This sickness will not end in death. It is for the glory of God so that the Son of God maybe be glorified through it.

Reader One:

Now, Jesus loved Mary and Martha and their brother, Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was for two more days.  

Reader Three:

After this, Jesus said to his disciples “Let us go back to Judea.”

Reader Four:

The disciples grew concerned. “But Rabbi,” they protested, “not that long ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and now you want to go back?”

Reader Three:

Jesus replied, “Lazarus, our friend, has fallen asleep, I am going there to wake him up.”

Reader Four:

His disciples misunderstood the words Jesus spoke. They replied “Lord, if he is asleep, this means he will get better.” But Jesus had meant that Lazarus had died.

Reader Three:

So Jesus told them, “Lazarus is dead, for your sakes I am glad I was not there so that you may believe. Let us go to him.”

Reader Four:

Then Thomas said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us go that we may die with him.” 

Reader One:

When Jesus arrived he found that Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. Bethany was located less than two miles from Jerusalem so many Jews had come to grieve with Mary and Martha and to comfort them in the loss of their brother.

Reader Four:

When Martha heard the news that Jesus was on his way, she got up and went to meet him on the road.

Reader Two:

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here sooner, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

Reader Three:

“Your brother will rise again,” Jesus said to her.

Reader Two:

“I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Martha answered.

Reader Three:

Then Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Reader Two:

“Yes, Lord,” Martha said. “I believe you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”

Reader One:

After saying these words, Martha went back to the house and called to her sister Mary. 

Reader Two:

Taking her aside she said, “The Teacher is here and is asking for you.” Hearing this, Mary quickly went to Jesus. 

Reader One:

Now Jesus had not entered the village of Bethany. He was still standing where Martha had left him.

Reader Four:

When the Jews who had been comforting Mary in the house noticed her quickly leaving, they trailed after her, thinking that she was probably going to mourn at the tomb.

Reader Two:

As Mary reached the place where Jesus was, she fell down at his feet. “Lord,” she said, “if you had only been here, my brother would not have died.”

Reader One:

When Jesus saw her weeping and all the others weeping as well, he was deeply moved and troubled.

Reader Three:

“Where have you laid Lazarus?” He asked.

Reader Four:

“Come and see, Lord.” The crowd replied.

Reader Three:

And Jesus wept.

Reader Four:

At this, the Jews said among themselves, “See how he loved Lazarus!” But others said, “He once opened the eyes of a blind man, couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?”

Reader Three:

Jesus was still deeply troubled as they came to the tomb. This tomb was a cave with a stone rolled across it’s entrance. “Roll the stone away.” He said.

Reader Two:

“But, Lord,” Martha, the sister of the dead man, protested. “He has been in there for four days. By this time the smell will be terrible.”

Reader Three:

Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

Reader Four:

So they rolled the stone aside.

Reader Three:

Jesus looked to heaven and prayed, “Father, thank you for always hearing me, I know you always do. I say these things for the benefit of those standing here, that they may believe you sent me.”

Reader One:

When he finished, Jesus cried out in a loud command:

Reader Three:

“Lazarus, come out!”

Reader One:

The dead man came out, his body bound in grave clothes and a head cloth wrapped around his face.

Reader Three:

Jesus said to them, “Unwrap these garments of death and set him free.”