A SCREENPLAY BY DAVID & AMY JONES
David & Amy Jones 510 Central Rd Mayfield, KY 42066 (270) 705-4878
1 FADE IN: INT. PRISON CELL — NIGHT Water drips in the darkness. 30 A.D. YESHUA, 42 years old, is chained to the floor on his hands and knees in a small stone prison cell. He is filthy, sweaty, and badly beaten. His black hair is matted to his forehead by a large bleeding gash. He is unconscious. A frail PRISONER chained only by one leg sits on a wooden bench under the window. He is in his mid-forties but has the look of a man who has been in prison for years. He is malnourished and scarred, but he bears no new wounds. His hair is gray and long. The prisoner tries to drink water that is dripping down from the window. As he drinks he mutters incoherently. Yeshua wakes suddenly with a gasp. He tries to stand. When realizes he is chained he wrestles violently with the chains. He soon stops, exhausted. PRISONER Your legs what your will back will hang down your in strips. Ever wondered your ribs look like? And bowels? Tomorrow you see them.
Yeshua groans. He tries to look around the room. He cannot see clearly.
2 PRISONER Your legs will shake so you cannot stand. Do you know why? Your blood is on the ground, but your heart is pumping, but there is no blood for it to pump. It is on the ground! The prisoner makes Yeshua groan even more with his wheezy laughs. PRISONER Sometimes they even slip on it! They fall! Now that is worth watching. That makes it all worth it. Yeshua finally straightens his vision enough to look around the cell. YESHUA I’m in the Praetorium. The prisoner gestures majestically around the room. PRISONER And it’s beautiful, isn’t it. He points to a pile of filthy straw. PRISONER Ornately decorated. The prisoner stops to observe Yeshua.
3 PRISONER I’ve heard them shouting your name in the streets. I know who they think you are. Yeshua remains silent. He tries to wipe the blood from his eyes with his upper arm. PRISONER And now you know that you’re not. The prisoner tilts his head up at the window momentarily to listen to the sound of wood and chains being dragged across the courtyard. PRISONER Try to rest. They’ll have everything ready for you in the morning. Yeshua casts him an annoyed glance then continues to survey his surroundings. PRISONER Have you ever watched them do it? -- Have you ever seen a Roman crucifixion? Yeshua pauses for a moment in reflection and then seems to be staring out into space. YESHUA (softly) Yes. We hear the sound of the heavy metal cell door opening. DISSOLVE TO:
4 INT. HALLWAY – NIGHT Two Roman guards lead Yeshua down a corridor. One of them has his hand on Yeshua’s shoulder. CUT TO: EXT. AN OPEN AIR MARKET, JERUSALEM – DAY Title Over: 30 YEARS EARLIER Yeshua is 12 years old, and small for his age. His father, ELEAZAR, walks with him down the busy streets of Jerusalem, his hand on his son’s shoulder. Eleazar is a priest in his mid-forties; he is dressed in a priest’s everyday garments: cone-shaped hat; white tunic with a wide sash that wraps three times around the waist. The streets are very lively, lined with traders’ stalls and crowded with people, sheep, and cattle. The foot-traffic is horrendous. Yeshua becomes annoyed with his father's hand on his shoulder. He tries to squirm away. YESHUA Father, I am twelve! I am almost a man. ELEAZAR Ah, yes. A man. I keep forgetting--I'm very sorry. He stops, kneels down and turns Yeshua toward him.
5 ELEAZAR But when a father is forgetful, as I am becoming in my old age, a good son—a good man—indulges his father’s senility. The two continue down the street, Eleazar’s hand still on his son's shoulder. Eleazar greets people cheerfully as they pass. YESHUA You know many people here, Abba. Eleazar exchanges a nod and a knowing look with a DOVESELLER. ELEAZAR Yes, I have been blessed with many friends. A ROMAN SOLDIER walks past a fruit stand. He pauses, comes back to it, and carefully selects the piece of fruit he wants. Then he walks away with the fruit without paying. Two soldiers harass a pretty JEWISH TEENAGE GIRL. They touch her face and her hair while she stands, frightened. Yeshua sees this and ponders as he walks along. YESHUA Abba, why do you travel to Jerusalem so often? You told me you'd never been chosen to serve in the Temple before.
6 Eleazar is silent and keeps walking, not looking at Yeshua. His countenance has darkened. CUT TO:
EXT. TEMPLE OF JERUSALEM - AFTERNOON Yeshua prays quietly on the steps with their two SERVANTS, both in their early twenties. The two servants are dressed in well-made robes of good fabrics. Eleazar emerges from the Temple. He is dressed in the ornate robes designated for a priest to wear: turban; tunic woven from one piece of cloth; waistband of four fingers wide; puffed-out trousers. CUT TO:
INT. A SMALL ROOM - NIGHT Yeshua rests on a pillow against the wall. He is pretending to be asleep, but his peeking eye shows us that he is listening intently. Across the room Eleazar is talking with men gathered around a fireplace. Some are PRIESTS, some are PHARISEES, and others are more commonly dressed. ELEAZAR There are a group of fighters hiding throughout Sepphoris. They have already raided the armory there and taken all the supplies.
7 PHARISEE Eleazar, you must be careful with your actions. We are not yet ready to launch a fullscale attack like this. DOVE-SELLER Nonsense! With a coordinated attack we could take control of every province in days. ELEAZAR We are ready. Things cannot go on as they are. As Yeshua gets more tired the voices fade until he really falls asleep. FADE TO:
EXT. ROAD FROM JERUSALEM TO SEPPHORIS - MORNING Yeshua, Eleazar, and the two servants walk along the road. Yeshua walks next to his father; the servants walk behind, leading a donkey carrying supplies. ELEAZAR …and that is why your Uncle Ezra is so short. Yeshua rolls with laughter. YESHUA Now the one about Aunt Rachel!
8 ELEAZAR Yeshua, just last night you heard that one. YESHUA It is funny. ELEAZAR It is not funny anymore. You know perfectly well where the rooster bit her. Not that one. Another one. YESHUA Hmm, I don’t know. ELEAZAR Have I told you about the timeYESHUA (interrupting) Abba? ELEAZAR Mmm? YESHUA Are you a conspirator? ELEAZAR Such a big word. YESHUA Are you?
9 ELEAZAR (Sighs) Let’s just say that I believe in something that will outlast what is temporary. Yeshua hangs his head. He is sullen. They walk in silence for a moment, then Eleazar smiles. ELEAZAR Let me tell you about the donkey and your Aunt Rachel’s wedding. FADE TO: EXT. ROAD FROM JERUSALEM TO SEPPHORIS - MIDDAY Yeshua walks along kicking rocks. The adults have nervous expressions as they walk. As they near Sepphoris they see little wafts of smoke starting to rise in several different places in the city. Sepphoris is set on a hill and is visible for miles. Eleazar has a worried look. The two servants look at each other with dread. Eleazar quickens his pace ahead of the others. CUT TO: EXT. CAVE ENTRANCE - AFTERNOON The cave is very small and opens near the ground so that the only way to enter is to crawl. The cave is close to the road but hidden by boulders.
10 Eleazar waits impatiently outside. He looks around as if he is paranoid that he is being watched. A spear is tossed out of the cave entrance. Eleazar starts. The smaller of the two servants emerges with swords, and some heavy leather armor. SERVANT I have lit the torch for the boy. Yeshua looks up at his father. YESHUA I am coming with you! ELEAZAR (Kneeling) You are my only son! have! All I
He lays his hand again on Yeshua’s shoulder, then remembers their earlier conversation and removes it. ELEAZAR You are right. You are almost a man. You can help. Inside the cave I have hidden some weapons and armor. I want you to guard them until I come for you. Can you do this? Yeshua nods. ELEAZAR You must stay hidden. No one can know about these. They are irreplaceable.
11 Eleazar pushes Yeshua into the mouth of the cave. ELEAZAR Everything will be all right. I will come for you in a little while. CUT TO: INT. CAVE - DAY Yeshua crawls deeper into the darkness of the cave. The light from the torch grows the further he crawls until a cavern is revealed just large enough for him to stand in. True to his father's word, there are swords and various pieces of armor hidden in the cave. They are mostly rusted and broken, but Yeshua, taking his duties seriously takes no notice of this. Yeshua finds a long sword with a golden handle. He tries to pick up the sword, but he can't even lift it completely off of the ground. He tries on the armor, but it is about ten sizes too big for him. LATER The torch is burning low. Yeshua waits curled up, shivering. He keeps glancing toward the dark end of the cave. Every noise makes him jump. A wind blows through the cave blowing out the remaining flame. Yeshua scurries to get out of the dark cave.
12 CUT TO: EXT. CAVE ENTRANCE - AFTERNOON Yeshua crawls back out of the mouth of the cave and peeks out from behind some rocks to see if the coast is clear. A group of ROMAN SOLDIERS ride by hard leading several horses. CUT TO:
EXT. DUSTY ROAD - DUSK Yeshua hurries down the road. He looks toward Sepphoris. He stops to take in what he sees. The smoke is much heavier than before. The entire city seems to be on fire. Yeshua continues to jog faster. CUT TO:
EXT. SEPPHORIS - EVENING As Yeshua enters the city it is a gruesome sight. Bodies litter the streets, and houses are on fire. Men, women, and children have been crucified on everything from trees to sides of buildings. The sound of fighting can still be heard in the distance. The wailings of the crucified are bone-chilling. Yeshua quickens his pace until he is at a full-out run. Everywhere he looks there is death and dying. His city is almost unrecognizable to him. He is disoriented, but then at last he finds his way to the Synagogue.
13 CUT TO: EXT. DOORWAY OF THE SEPPHORIS SYNAGOGUE - EVENING The Synagogue is decorated with palm branches and a menorah etched into the stucco of the outer walls. As Yeshua reaches one of the doors, his worst fears are realized. Eleazar has been nailed to the door by his forearms, with his thighs slashed so he cannot stand. His chest is bare and deeply wounded. The two servants that accompanied them earlier lie dead in the street. Yeshua stands there in horror for a moment and then runs to his father's side. YESHUA Abba! ELEAZAR (speaking with great labor) Son…go now… YESHUA No Abba! I want… ELEAZAR Hide…be safe. Eleazar’s head slumps; he is dead. Yeshua screams, crying.
14 A YOUNG SERVANT darts out from around the corner and grabs Yeshua, pulling him to the side of the wall. YESHUA I must help him! SERVANT No, I must help you! There is no time to discuss it. CUT TO:
EXT. DOORWAY OF THE SEPPHORIS SYNAGOGUE - EVENING MESHACH, an elderly servant, rides to the front of the building on a small horse. The young servant pulls Yeshua towards Meshach. Meshach strokes the horse he is on. MESHACH It is small. I guess they didn't want it. A group of soldiers, still dragging people from their houses, notice them from far down the street. Only one is on horseback—the COMMANDER. He starts to ride toward them. The young servant lifts Yeshua onto the horse with Meshach. YOUNG SERVANT Here, take him! Go! Yeshua struggles to get free. He looks toward his father.
15 YESHUA No, I can't leave! I have to stay here -- Abba! Yeshua continues to yell in protestation. The young servant slaps the horse hard and it takes off. As they ride away, Yeshua watches the action surrounding his home. The young servant picks up a broken spear and hides around the corner where he had dragged Yeshua earlier. The commander is almost there. At the last second the young servant leaps out and plunges the spear into the horse of the commander, allowing himself to be kicked and crushed by the horse. With his sacrifice he ensures Meshach and Yeshua’s safety. DISSOLVE TO:
INT. INTERROGATION ROOM – NIGHT (A.D. 30) A small round room with only a simple wooden table in it pushed up against one wall; on the table are a pitcher and a cup. Yeshua is in shackles. He is on his knees. Soldiers strike Yeshua with reeds, one on his front side the other on his back, and they each are holding him up by one of his shoulders. The GOVERNOR is in front of him, questioning him. He is the picture of Roman militancy. He wears the purple band of an equestrian knight.
16 GOVERNOR Who is this man Yeshua? You hardly look like a great leader. The Governor leans in close to Yeshua. GOVERNOR How many men do you have? Yeshua is silent. GOVERNOR You think if you are silent I might offer you a bargain. One life for another perhaps? Still no word from Yeshua. GOVERNOR It is over, Jew. You have lost. Tell me now, who are your people? Are you their only leader? More silence. GOVERNOR I have heard you are from Galilee. From what city do you come? What family? A kingly line perhaps? Yeshua looks up at the Governor and cracks a grin.
17 YESHUA I am my father's son. I come from my father’s house and I do his will. The Governor strikes Yeshua hard enough that he falls over flat onto his back. He signals to a Roman soldier, who approaches with an ominous-looking whip. CUT TO:
INT. PRISON CELL - NIGHT The cell door opens. Soldiers lead Yeshua in and secure him in shackles, this time seated with arms outstretched. He is much bloodier and rougher looking than before. The prisoner looks excited that the guards have brought Yeshua back. The old man eagerly waits for the guard to leave. PRISONER So how did you...? Yeshua collapses into unconsciousness before the prisoner can finish his question. The prisoner sighs and lies down on his bench to sleep. A LITTLE WHILE LATER The prisoner is now tossing small pebbles at Yeshua trying to rouse him. As soon as Yeshua is conscious again the prisoner begins to pester him.
18 PRISONER Tell me your story. You will be here for such a short time. (to himself) They never want to talk! Yeshua raises his head to look at him. YESHUA Are you part of my punishment? The prisoner smiles and nods. PRISONER I come with the room. YESHUA Why do they let you live? PRISONER They like to make the messes but they do not like to clean them up. Besides, no one can remember why I’m here in the first place. Yeshua shuts his eyes as if pretending he is alone. PRISONER You should be grateful! It would be a very long night without my company. Yeshua sighs, knowing the prisoner is right.
19 YESHUA I went to live with the Essene monks when I was twelve. I was taken there by my tutor. Yeshua turns his head. He focuses on a small weed that is growing out of a crack a few inches from his face. DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. OUTSIDE ESSENE CAMP AT QUMRAN - DAY The weed becomes a plant in a garden; a hoe strikes the ground near it. Angle up to see that the man wielding the hoe is dressed in all white robes. He stands straight and looks off in the distance. There are other men dressed the same way tending the garden also. This is the ESSENE MONASTERY at QUMRAN. The monastery is on cliffs beside the Dead Sea. We see red rocks next to the dark water, but also farmland and palm trees. FADE TO:
EXT. COUNTRYSIDE OF JUDEA - DAY Meshach and Yeshua ride a horse slowly across the expanse. The sun is very hot and intense. The two sag under the heat. CUT TO: EXT. OUTSIDE ESSENE CAMP AT QUMRAN - DAY In the distance Meshach and Yeshua, both barely conscious, ride very slowly slumped over on the horse.
20 The men tending the garden rush out to help the two travelers. DISSOLVE TO:
INT. YESHUA’S NEW BEDROOM — NIGHT We are at a doorway and can see Meshach talking with one of the ESSENE men in the next room. MESHACH I was one of the house servants; the boy has no family left now.... Yeshua sits on the edge of a bed; it is evident that he has been crying. As we move to the bed where Yeshua is sitting the men’s voices fade into incoherent talking. CUT TO:
INT. YESHUA’S NEW BEDROOM — NIGHT Meshach comes into the room and kneels down by Yeshua. MESHACH Yeshua -- they have agreed to let us stay here. Yeshua looks up at Meshach with tear-filled eyes. MESHACH These are holy men. They don’t keep servants here, but they said I could continue to look after you. We will be safe here.
21 DISSOLVE TO: EXT. MONASTARY GROUNDS – DAY The monastery is a group of large buildings beneath a fortress. The fortress rests on a plateau between a cliff and the shore of the Dead Sea. We have a brief “tour” of the monastery, with shots of storerooms, a kitchen, writing-rooms, and a pottery workshop. YESHUA (V.O.) Meshach did not live to see my eighteenth year. I think that most of him died in Sepphoris -- his body simply took a little longer. FADE TO:
EXT. GARDEN - DAY A.D. 6 - YESHUA IS NOW 18. WE SEE HIM WORKING IN THE GARDEN AS THE OLDER YESHUA NARRATES. YESHUA (V.O.) I, however, played the part of the good student, while revenge grew in me. My mind was as fertile as the soil we tilled, and Sepphoris was the seed. CUT TO:
22 INT. SCROLL ROOM - DAY YESHUA (V.O.) Most of my days were filled with mundane tasks. Yeshua sits at a desk tediously copying scrolls. The room is filled with other men doing the same task as he. SWITCH TO:
INT. SCROLL ROOM - LATER Yeshua takes rolled up scrolls and places them into jars, while a man beside him seals them with wax. CUT TO:
EXT. OUTSIDE A CAVE – DAY YESHUA (V.O.) It seems as though I copied a thousand scrolls… Yeshua carries the large pots containing scrolls inside the cave and sets them on wooden shelves. SWITCH TO: INT. A CLASSROOM – DAY Five or six young men sit on benches while an ELDER stands in front of them lecturing.
23 YESHUA (V.O.) …and endured countless lectures. ELDER You shall not produce any likeness of any man or any creature on Earth or in Heaven or under the Earth. Do not handle or look at coins that have images on them. Do not enter a city at any gate that has statues erected about it. While the elder is lecturing, Yeshua and another young man his own age squirm with boredom as they try to pay attention. They start as the Elder raises his voice. ELDER (fervently) You are called to be Sons of Light. Consider yourself at war—at war with the Sons of Darkness. The pagan. The heathen. Yeshua is now giving him his full attention. ELDER This war is both spiritual and physical! That is why we must not come within any distance of their defiling presence. Unclean in every way! We must stay holy, set apart… CUT TO:
24 EXT. MONASTERY COURTYARD – DAY ELDER (V.O.) …constantly preparing our minds and our bodies for the final battle, so that we can be worthy to be the Lord’s army. Rows of Essenes standing with long spears work in unison as they fight imaginary foes. It is reminiscent of Samurai training. Yeshua is good at this and is a very swift fighter. His smile tells us he enjoys this part of his daily life. SWITCH TO: INT. CLASSROOM – DAY Yeshua raises his hand. YESHUA Master…this final battle will be soon? ELDER (superiorly) Sooner than you think. At the Last Judgment. Yeshua nods with a blank look of disappointment. SWITCH TO:
25 EXT. MONASTERY COURTYARD – DAY YESHUA (V.O.) But at least I learned how to fight. Pairs of men train with wooden swords. They do their routines back and forth as one of the ELDERS walks up and down the rows, watching over them and correcting them. Yeshua does this with vigor and excitement. He is paired with ANOTHER CLASSMATE. The Elder approaches the two young men. He silently nods in approval. CUT TO: EXT. GARDEN - AFTERNOON Yeshua is planting seeds in the garden. ELDER (O.S.) Yeshua! Come. Yeshua looks up. SWITCH TO: EXT. MONASTERY GATE - MORNING The Elder stands with Yeshua at the open gate, gesturing at the road and the world beyond.
26 ELDER Yeshua, you will go out for one year. Observing everything we have taught you. Then when you return you may become a member of our order. Focus on Yeshua’s face. He has a noncommittal expression. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. A ROAD IN JUDEA - AFTERNOON Yeshua stands looking into the distance. He looks down at his white robe and hatchet, looks up and surveys his surroundings, and takes in a deep breath. He chooses a direction and keeps walking. YESHUA (V.O.) I had been safe, just like my father wanted. But the holy men had trained me to be a warrior; one of the Messiah’s army--whenever He came. If they were content to wait for Him, they could. Contained and hidden, like my father’s cave full of rusty swords. I was tired of waiting. I wanted to see what I could do. CUT TO:
27 EXT. OUTSIDE JERUSALEM - DAY As Yeshua walks along the road, he sees a great city among the hills in the distance—-Jerusalem. The city is surrounded by stone walls, and the Temple sits atop the apex of the city like a crown. Yeshua pauses and gazes with delight at the sun-baked limestone flecked with marble palaces. As he watches people enter the nearest gate, he notices the Roman statues posted around the gate. He then looks over and sees ESSENES and PHARISEES entering through a gate without statues. He heads that direction. CUT TO:
EXT. JERUSALEM STREETS – DAY Yeshua walks the city streets taking in the sites and sounds of the bustling city. He stops to look at a VENDOR selling fruit when a ROMAN GARRISON charges through the streets. People scurry to get out of the way. Yeshua runs with them. He finds an alleyway, ducks inside it, and continues to the next street. CUT TO:
EXT. OUTSIDE A BUILDING - DAY Yeshua is attracted to a group of people listening to a man who is preaching openly in the streets. This man is JUDAS THE GALILEAN, a tall man in his early 40's. His clothes are dirty and grass-stained.
28 JUDAS Remember the words given to Moses! "You shall have no other gods before Me." Yeshua comes and stands next to a MAN WITH A SMALL BOY. YESHUA Who is this man? MAN This is Judas from Galilee. He is going to bring about great change. The man picks up his small son. MAN I have named my son for him. One day I hope he will bring great change too. While Yeshua and the man are talking, Judas preaches. JUDAS (O.S.) You shall not make for yourself a carved image--any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God! Judas’s preaching becomes even more animated as he paces back and forth in front of the crowd, even walking through them while he talks, shouting in people’s faces.
29 Yeshua is intrigued by both his style and his message. JUDAS We have only one God! A jealous God! We shall not pay tribute to any but Him, nor will He allow us to! You see, anyone who pays tribute to Caesar makes him his god. You know the stories of the fates of those who turned from Him to worship others. Judgment! On themselves and often on those around them. It is up to us to intervene! Another man in the crowd approaches and stands a few paces off. ZADOK is in his early 50’s and wears the black and white robes of the Pharisees. His manner is quiet and grandfatherly. Zadok looks at Yeshua strangely as if he has seen him before. He approaches Yeshua. ZADOK What brings you here, my young Essene friend? Yeshua takes a quick glance toward Zadok then answers without looking at him. YESHUA I am on my Probation journey.
30 ZADOK Ah, yes, you must go out and prove that you can live in the world without being of the world. They pause for a second, and then Yeshua speaks without taking his eyes off Judas. YESHUA This Judas speaks with conviction. ZADOK He does, yes. While they are talking Judas finishes, comes down the steps, greets a few people and approaches the two. Yeshua now gives Zadok his full attention. ZADOK He has given many years to the cause. YESHUA And what exactly is that? Judas now steps forward and interjects into the conversation. JUDAS It is the defiling of our holy city and the enslavement of our people. Judas holds out his hand as he is speaking as if to give Yeshua something.
31 Yeshua looks at him questioningly for a moment and then stretches out his hand to take it. Judas drops something small into his hand. Yeshua takes one look, recoils, and drops the object as if he has just been handed a rotting finger. The object spins to the ground. It is a gold coin, and as it hits the ground we focus on it and see that it is imprinted with the face of CAESAR. The glistening coin dissolves into DISSOLVE TO:
INT. A ROOM – EVENING - a lamp on the middle of a table. The room is small. People are eating and deep in conversation. Yeshua sits on cushions by a wall and listens to Judas and Zadok talk of rebellion with some of the PEOPLE FROM THE CROWD. Yeshua tries to look confident while taking the discussion in. ZADOK My friends, I promise you are not alone. There are more of us than these in this room. LISTENER IN ROOM If we do not pay the tax everything will be taken from us. If we fight we will be killed! We must survive! JUDAS (sagely) Must you?
32 Yeshua drops his guard and looks uncertain. Judas notices, but continues to focus on his conversation partners. JUDAS Do not be troubled about tomorrow. All you have to lose is the authority of man. (smiles) Either way. LATER THAT NIGHT Most of the people are now gone. Zadok approaches Yeshua and sits with him. YESHUA You knew my father, didn’t you? ZADOK I did, yes. I think I recognized you first. You hold your head the same way. YESHUA Were you one of the men he met with in Jerusalem? Zadok nods slowly. Yeshua motions toward Judas. YESHUA You trust him? ZADOK With my life.
33 YESHUA You are certain of the success of this revolt? ZADOK You have been trained that death is more glorious than life. You are to give your life gladly in the final battle. Do you fear death now? YESHUA (Agitated) No, no, I... ZADOK Our success will be based on one thing--whether or not a scribe survives. Yeshua sits solemnly for a moment. YESHUA I have reason enough as any to want to take part in this. But first I want you to tell me everything you know about my father. CUT TO:
EXT. PERIMETERS OF JERUSALEM — DAY Zadok and Yeshua walk around the inside of the city walls.
34 YESHUA My father was my best friend, and yet I know so little about him. ZADOK Well, he loved to make people laugh. And he could tell storiesYESHUA (Impatiently) Yes, that I know…I also know he was part of a plot, and that it failed, and he died. Every time I would ask him about it he would change the subject and tell me a funny story instead. He had another life apart from me. ZADOK Perhaps he hoped he would never have to tell you. YESHUA (Calming) Maybe I wouldn’t have understood at the time...I would now. Zadok stops walking and looks at Yeshua. ZADOK I know you are angry, Yeshua. How could you not be? And you want to fight. So would your father. You are definitely his son.
35 Yeshua smiles. ZADOK But your father was driven by a love for his nation, not revenge. I believe you are. YESHUA (angrily) There is no difference! It was an attack on our nation that killed him! Zadok holds up a hand to silence him. ZADOK Yeshua, I have been a Pharisee for many years. I have watched hate devour people like a cancer. What is more, God said, “Vengeance is Mine. I will repay.” To hate is to doubt His power. And revenge will not refill your heart. Yeshua is silent, unwilling to argue with his elder. His jaw is set. ZADOK (kindly) One thing I can tell you about your father is that he believed our people were God’s own ally-the stones of the earth. And what happens when… Zadok glances at a nearby Roman soldier.
36 ZADOK …a lizard sits between a rock and the mighty sun for too long? They continue walking, Yeshua eager to change the subject. YESHUA So what can we expect here? ZADOK We will take our request to the Governor. If he does not agree, Judas will take action. He has small bands camped out in the hill country. He can’t take down the empire, but he can at least make a pest of himself. We will not pay a tribute to Caesar and we will not use money with Caesar’s image. They stop in front of a large stone building--the Praetorium. Some PHARISEES and other JERUSALEM CITIZENS have already gathered outside. Zadok spots Judas among the people gathered. ZADOK Ah, there is Judas…you shall stay back with him. He stops and puts his hand on Yeshua’s shoulder. Yeshua glances at it. Meanwhile, Judas walks over to them. ZADOK I have prayed for success here. You can help us the most by doing the same.
37 Yeshua nods, unsure as to what is about to happen. JUDAS The city is too quiet this morning; I have a bad feeling. ZADOK Nonsense--you read too much into a good thing. I suppose if there had been trouble in the city you would have thought it good? Judas laughs. JUDAS Perhaps you are right my friend. Zadok clasps arms with Judas, and then Zadok and a large number of the other rebels who have been waiting near Judas go into the Praetorium. YESHUA What now? JUDAS Zadok told you to pray, didn’t he? I thought that was something the Essenes did several times a day. Yeshua shoots Judas a look that says “Don’t patronize me!” Judas smiles reassuringly.
38 JUDAS We wait. Don’t worry. They are only going in to bring a petition to the Governor. If he accepts, that is good. If he does not, we start our campaign. Some of the men who entered with Zadok run out yelling. They are bloody and stumbling. Roman soldiers are pursuing them. They grab and slay the men as they catch them. Judas catches a Pharisee as he runs by. PHARISEE It is a trap! JUDAS Where is Zadok? PHARISEE I…I’m not sure. The Pharisee is overcome with emotion and fear. Judas shakes him. JUDAS How many fell in there?!! PHARISEE I—I don’t know. At least ten I think. Yeshua watches the scene, stunned as the rebels run away.
39 Roman Soldiers pour out of the fortress in pursuit. Zadok stumbles out with them and falls onto the ground. Yeshua is in a whirlwind of emotions. A soldier steps up to Zadok and runs him through! Yeshua, now full of rage, charges right out in the middle of it all. A soldier has a man trapped against a building; he is going to run him through. Yeshua is in the middle of battle before he realizes it; he is defenseless. Quickly he grabs his small hatchet from his belt and whacks a soldier once in the back of the neck, but before they can be spotted, Judas grabs Yeshua by the sleeve and drags him out of sight. YESHUA Are we just going to run? JUDAS That is exactly what we are going to do. A wave of anger washes over Yeshua. YESHUA I am not going to run and hide! He tries to break free from Judas and run toward the soldiers. Judas catches him by the collar. JUDAS There will be a time to use your young muscles for fighting, but this is not it! We have lost this battle. You can stay and die or come with us.
40 Yeshua’s eyes flash with anger, but as he looks at Judas for a moment he sees reason, trusts him, and follows. CUT TO:
EXT. CAVE ENCAMPMENT - EVENING Judas and Yeshua approach a large cave entrance. There are MEN camped about. Some are sharpening swords. Others are doing various tasks. The mood is relaxed. Two young men rush up to Judas; JAMES (16) and SIMON (12). These are Judas’ sons. Judas hugs them both in each arm. JUDAS Yeshua, these are my two sons, James and Simon. YESHUA Shalom alekh hem. JAMES AND SIMON Shalom alekh hem. JUDAS James is the master of the sling. There was never a Benjamite better at it. Simon - he’s been learning to copy Roman documents and seals. The two boys look eager that someone nearer their own age has come to the camp. JUDAS Yeshua is tired. Why don’t you show him where he can rest.
41 (to Yeshua) We can talk more in the morning. Yeshua, still rattled, follows the boys. FADE OUT:
EXT. OUTSIDE CAVE – SUNRISE We see Judas sitting by a fire sharpening a stick. Yeshua walks up tucking his hatchet back into his belt and straightening his robes. Yeshua sits down across from Judas. JUDAS So tell me, how long were you with the Essenes? YESHUA Six years. JUDAS (jokingly) So, even if you don’t know how to pray, you know how to fight. YESHUA I do know how to pray. (darkly) So did Zadok. Judas whips his head toward him warningly.
42 JUDAS Zadok had a faith I could only hope to have! He knew the dangers of what we were doing. Do not be so quick to think you know more than God. Yeshua hangs his head apologetically, then raises it and attempts a smile. YESHUA To answer your question, yes I know how to fight. I was the best fighter among the pupils. I am ready. JUDAS Yes, but the Essenes fight together in unison, as one man. I see you do not have an army with you.--If you’re going to fight with us you’re going to have to learn… something a little different. As Judas finishes talking he holds up the stick he has been sharpening and smiles. SWITCH TO: EXT. FOREST – DAY A small patrol of Roman soldiers, swords drawn, move slowly through the forest. A COMMANDER on horseback slowly follows behind.
43 YESHUA (V.O.) Judas taught me how to act and think on my own as a warrior. I learned to use the sling and the bow. I could hide in the rocks, and in the trees I could disappear like a bird. The Essenes had taught me to fight honorably, but Judas taught me to fight to win. A soldier steps into a trip wire, which releases a whip trap. A spike on a pole flies out and impales the soldier through the neck. This catches the other soldiers off guard. As they look toward the downed man, a rebel jumps out from behind a tree with a bow and takes out the soldier nearest the dying man. Several other rebels do the same to many of the other soldiers. The commander on horseback rides off in pursuit of the rebels, but suddenly the forest floor gives way! It is a covered trap, full of sharpened spikes driven into the bottom of a pit. The commander and his horse fall hard onto the spikes. As the rebels continue to fight from the woods, we see that one of them is Yeshua. He has aged: more coarsely cut hair; beard; battle scars. YESHUA (V.O.) And so we operated for years. James’s skills with the sling were infallible. An older James sits in a tree, acting as a sniper with his sling. He takes out one soldier after another.
44 YESHUA (V.O.) Simon mastered his father’s skill with the spear. Simon throws a spear that drives right through a soldier’s breastplate. YESHUA (V.O.) But the tax revolt that had killed Zadok left us all wanted men, especially Judas. He could not run for long, and even though our ranks were growing larger all the time, we were not enough to defend him from the Romans. They let him live long enough to execute him publicly, just as he had preached publicly against them. As Yeshua narrates, we see the rebels climbing down from the trees and examining the dead soldiers. FADE TO: INT. PRISON – NIGHT Soldiers bring two more prisoners into the cell and chain them down, one on each side of Yeshua. ADINO is in his late thirties, very muscular, loud and gruff. LEVI is 19, quiet, and trying to hide his fright. ADINO (Yelling) Roman swine! Adino kicks and yells at the soldiers as they try to chain his feet down. One of the soldiers hits Adino over the head
45 with a baton, knocking him half unconscious. Blood covers his face. The soldiers finish their job and leave. The prisoner rolls with wheezy laughter. PRISONER (pointing at Adino) That happens every time. Yeshua looks at him in annoyed disbelief. His attention is then directed to Levi. YESHUA I thought you two had escaped. Adino groans and stirs around. Levi glares at Adino. LEVI We did. We would have. Adino is fully awake now. ADINO What is that? You blame me? Adino sputters on the blood running into his mouth. He spits. Levi looks toward the door where the guards have exited and back again at Adino and his bloody head. LEVI You have no fear, do you?
46 ADINO Fear is for mice like you. LEVI I know the difference between fear and wisdom. You have neither. ADINO Enjoy your wisdom while you are dead! Levi is silent. He is about to cry with fear. YESHUA What do you know of the others? LEVI Nothing. Yeshua looks down in dismay. ADINO We hid for two days. After that, escape was simple. The prisoner laughs uncontrollably. LEVI (to Adino) Until you tried to burn the armory.
47 ADINO (to Yeshua) Don’t worry. I know you will conquer. YESHUA Yes. You can see I already have. A rat scurries toward them. Yeshua nods toward it. YESHUA See my army? All three men wince and squirm as the rat takes turns around the room, crawling across their laps, and they are powerless to stop it. PRISONER (feigning shock) Oh my. Now you are unclean for the Passover. Levi responds with a pained look. Yeshua looks at his shackles, looks around the room, and closes his eyes. He rests his head against the wall. YESHUA Unclean. ADINO (ignoring him) You’ll be out of here before noon. The old prisoner laughs in his wheezy voice.
48 PRISONER I have been here many years, and no one has ever gotten out of this cell, until it was time to take up his cross. ADINO (Angrily) He will! This man will escape and lead Israel to freedom. Our people will reign! The prisoner laughs and wheezes harder. ADINO He will! I’ve watched him work miracles. Military miracles! Adino has gone over the edge of insanity and continues to rant. Yeshua ignores him and keeps his eyes shut. ADINO He taught us to disappear like spirits and exterminate those unclean animals, worse than any rats. He is the one! Rome will fall at his hand! He is the one we have been waiting for! As Adino rants, the prisoner rolls with laughter. PRISONER (to Yeshua) I like this one! I can live off of this for a month!
49 He throws a couple more pebbles at Yeshua, who in turn lifts his head and looks at him. PRISONER Did you pick him up in Samaria? Yeshua grins ever so slightly at the joke. YESHUA No. I found him in Jericho. SWITCH TO: EXT. JERICHO – DAY TITLE OVER: 25 A.D. Yeshua enters the city on a horse. He only has a handful of men with him, all weary-looking. YESHUA (V.O.) We went there to recruit men. Most of Judas’s men were scattered after he was killed. He only knew how to form a small militia. For years, that was all any of us knew to do, so after each battle we barely numbered more than a handful. I was tired of picking off soldiers one by one. I wanted an army.
50 LATER A crowd has formed around Yeshua, still on his horse. Yeshua addresses the crowd. Some of the men have their families with them. They all stand in awe of what he is saying. YESHUA The Egyptians enslaved our forefathers and GOD delivered us from them. The Assyrians and Babylonians invaded our lands and took our people away as captives. All of these kingdoms have fallen and so will this present menace. Israel will stand forever and all her oppressors will fall. Fight with me and you will have your chance to avenge the Roman tyranny that has plagued you and your village. The crowd is silent. We see a younger Adino, disheveled, hopeless. YESHUA (pointing at Adino) You. Do not despair. A chance for salvation has come to you today. Adino steps up with a gleam in his eye. A few men are behind him. CUT TO:
51 EXT. ROAD FROM JERICHO - DAY They ride out of the city. Adino and a dozen other men have joined their ranks. YESHUA (V.O.) As my numbers grew, so did my confidence. FADE TO:
EXT. COURTYARD, JERUSALEM – MORNING YESHUA (V.O.) I took my band of men to Jerusalem. I wanted to recruit more men. I also was curious to see if any of Judas’s men had found their way there, and if any of his teachings had made any change. What I found made me sick. Silver coins are flung into a basket. JEWISH TAX COLLECTORS are stationed at tables around the courtyard. They are dressed in Roman clothes and have Roman haircuts. Roman soldiers are standing behind each table, watching. The courtyard is crowded with Jews. Soldiers are trying to force them into lines. A soldier calls out directions.
52 SOLDIER You will line up at a table to pay the tax. If you do not have the proper currency, have your money exchanged. We have a record of every household. If you do not pay the tax, you will be fined three times the amount and imprisoned until the debt is paid. The people in line are muttering comments to one another. PHARISEE 1 If he wants to see a brood of vipers he should look at these snakes. They are in league with the devil. PHARISEE 2 The Romans know nothing but their own gain. You’ve watched them for years…why are you so surprised?
A TAX COLLECTOR greedily takes the money from the next person in line. PHARISEE 1 I wasn’t talking about the Romans. Yeshua and two other men, Pharisees named ENAN and NADAB, walk by the courtyard and observe what is going on.
53 YESHUA What is this, Enan? Jews are working with the enemy? Are we to fight our own people as well? ENAN Traitors of the faith… collecting the tax, handling cursed money, helping these pagans grow so they can stamp us down. NADAB They are worse than traitors. They’ve given their very souls for money. They are damned. SWITCH TO: EXT. COURT OF THE GENTILES, TEMPLE JERUSALEM – DAY The scene is a madhouse of activity; vendors, people, animals seem to be everywhere. Enan comes back from getting Yeshua’s money exchanged and hands him a few temple coins. Yeshua has a surprised look. ENAN I know, but the moneychangers take their share. NADAB They are profiting well off of Rome.
54 YESHUA What has become of our great city--our own people collecting taxes for Rome, others stealing from worshipers right in this very temple? He goes over to the nearest money-changing table and kicks it over with a yell, then rushes from the Temple complex without saying a word. CUT TO: EXT. OUTSIDE THE TEMPLE – DAY Nadab rushes to catch up with Yeshua. NADAB What is to be done Yeshua? You don’t have enough troops to take the city. It is too heavily fortified. Yeshua spots across the street the tax collector they saw earlier. YESHUA This is Passover, Nadab… a time for sacrifice. Atonement. I know what is to be done. DISSOLVE TO:
55 INT. DIMLY LIT ROOM – NIGHT YESHUA (V.O.) We became the ones who would punish the traitors to Israel. We became the Sicarii -- the dagger men who would strike fear into all who would betray us. A small room with several men kneeling as Yeshua stands in front. He hands each man an identical silver dagger with a blue tassel. CUT TO:
EXT. COURTYARD, JERUSALEM – DAY YESHUA (V.O.) We did our work in public, to send a message to those who would dare to work with Rome. A TAX COLLECTOR sits at a table with a row of people waiting to pay. Next to him ANOTHER TAX COLLECTOR is setting up his table. TAX COLLECTOR 1 (to person in line) Two drachmas for the temple, two drachmas for Caesar. The next man in line lays down his coins on the table. TAX COLLECTOR 2 Matthew…
56 A man walks by and bumps into the second tax collector just as he is beginning to speak. He stands still for a moment, and then falls flat on his face, across his table. A dagger is sticking out of his back, driven through a piece of parchment that has “traitor” written on it. CUT TO: EXT. STREET – DAY A SADDUCEE hassles a man who owes him money. A group of several PHARISEES are walking toward them. POV: MAN, the Sadducee gasps, and then falls forward. He has a silver dagger driven through his back just like the others. CUT TO:
EXT. GOVERNOR’S PALACE/CAESAREA — DAY YESHUA (V.O.) That was also near the time I heard rumors that the new governor of Judea had arrived. A Roman entourage pulls up to a palace. The GOVERNOR emerges from a litter. He looks like he would rather be anywhere else as he surveys his surroundings. He sees Pharisees huddled in a corner, looking at him and whispering. CUT TO:
57 INT. GOVERNOR’S PALACE/CAESAREA — NIGHT The Governor is settling in for the night. He is weary from his travels. MALTHUS, his right-hand man, enters. MALTHUS Sir, will there be anything else? GOVERNOR No, Malthus. Malthus starts to leave. GOVERNOR Malthus, wait. What do you think of this place? MALTHUS It is a good home, sir. GOVERNOR No, no. Judea. MALTHUS Sir? The Governor sees that Malthus is afraid to be frank.
58 GOVERNOR Primitive, isn’t it. Crude. Four governors before me…I was expecting it to look something like Rome. Scarcely a statue, and no Roman temples. Tell me, why is that? MALTHUS I believe the people see statues as an insult to their God, sir. The Governor laughs. GOVERNOR That is what I was told when I inspected the troops today. They had none of the imperial standards! “The people don’t want images. Their God doesn’t like them”. Who is their god compared to Caesar? The Governor goes to the window and looks out at the night. GOVERNOR I know why I was sent here now. It is a test to see if I can do what the others could not. We are not guests here. We won’t abide by their rules. If this is to be imperial territory then it has to conform to what the Emperor wants. Set the standards up throughout the city. I want them in place before morning. We are the people. Caesar is God.
59 CUT TO: EXT. SMALL ROMAN OUTPOST – NIGHT A small outpost with wooden walls and turrets. A SOLDIER stands guard on a tower. Inside are mostly tents. Out of nowhere a rock smashes into the soldier’s face. James has just released the rock with a sling. Concurrently another REBEL knocks out the GUARD on the other side with an arrow. A few REBELS ON HORSEBACK ride by with jars of oil and flaming arrows, tossing and shooting them over the walls. SWICH TO: INT. CENTURION’S TENT — NIGHT A CENTURION prepares a message and seals it. From his look and posture it is obvious that this is the last thing he wants to do. Outside the tent you can see what is left of the burned outpost. CENTURION (Handing the scroll to the soldier) Deliver this to the Governor at Caesarea. The SOLDIER salutes and leaves. FADE TO:
60 EXT. NARROW PASSAGE – EARLY MORNING The soldier, accompanied by two others, rides through rocky terrain. The walls of rock are high on either side of the road like a deep gorge. Yeshua, Adino, and a few other militia fighters are hiding in the rocks. Two of them are on either side of the road, holding a slackened rope. When the first rider gets close enough they tighten the rope and “clothesline” the soldier, knocking his helmet off his head and dislodging him from his horse. We focus on this soldier as he is slammed against the rock wall, facefirst. As he rolls to the ground we see that his head is deeply gashed and an eye is missing. Meanwhile, in the fuzzy background the other men attack and kill the other two soldiers. Yeshua approaches this soldier and kicks him to see if he is dead. The soldier does not move. Yeshua finds the message in a tube around the soldier’s neck. He reads it and smiles. YESHUA (waving the parchment in the air) For the Governor of Judea. My name may win some renown! As Yeshua moves away from the soldier we see the soldier's face as his remaining eye slightly opens. CUT TO:
61 EXT. NARROW PASSAGE — AFTERNOON The soldier gains consciousness to find that his armor, horse, and all other possessions are gone. He tries to stand but he is too badly injured. As he lies there, a Jewish priest with his servants passes him. The soldier groggily holds out an arm to him to ask for help. The priest sees this, ignores him, and keeps walking. SWITCH TO: EXT. REBEL CAMP – SUNSET The rebels are camped out; Yeshua stands at the edge of camp looking at his surroundings. He smiles sadly as he looks at the enormous city of Sepphoris, set on a hill in the distance. Adino approaches and watches with him, admiring the view. ADINO I have always wanted to see this city. YESHUA And I have long dreaded this moment. This was my home. Yeshua walks away, as Adino looks perplexed and concerned. LATER Yeshua mounts a horse and rides off alone.
62 CUT TO: EXT. CAVE – NIGHT Yeshua crawls along into a cave entrance with a torch in one hand. He barely fits and has difficulty maneuvering. He makes it to the main chamber. There, still stuck in the sand, is an old burned-out torch; he examines it. He sees something gleaming out of the sand. He pulls a sword out of the sand and looks at it almost reverently; it is the same sword that he could not lift as a child. CUT TO: EXT. ROAD TO SEPPHORIS – SUNRISE Yeshua rides along, the old sword now on his back. CUT TO:
EXT. SEPPHORIS – MORNING Yeshua rides slowly along a main street in SEPPHORIS. The city is now much different than when he was a boy. The entire city has been rebuilt out of white stone in Roman style. He passes an amphitheater with twin statues of drunken Dionysius; public baths; ornamental fountains with statues of Venus and Apollo. He finally reaches the apex of the city where the synagogue is. It too has been rebuilt, not as large, but ornately decorated. Outside the temple on the steps lies a priest; he is passed out drunk, with a wine bottle in his hand. Yeshua looks down at him with contempt and tears of rage.
63 YESHUA May drunks lie on your grave! He pivots his horse and races away. CUT TO: EXT. LAKE OUTSIDE OF SEPPHORIS – MORNING Yeshua’s white robe and his cloak lie on a rock. Yeshua takes a bath in a small lake surrounded by trees. He is up to his waist in the water. First he splashes his arms, chest, and head. Then he scrubs himself normally at first, then more intensely until he is violently scrubbing himself. Then he dunks himself in the water. We do not see him come up. CUT TO: EXT. LAKE/ROAD - DAY As Yeshua walks away from the lake he sees a Roman caravan of supplies traveling, lightly guarded. CUT TO: EXT. A VILLAGE - DAY TWO LITTLE GIRLS play with pottery animals. They yank their toys away as pieces of fruit bounce over their laps. Yeshua and Adino stand in the back of a Roman wagon as it drives through a small village; they are throwing coins, small bags of flour, and fruit to the people.
64 YESHUA (V.O.) Adino helped me build the army I wanted. We went from village to village giving our Roman loot to the poor in exchange for what had been taken from them. CUT TO:
EXT. A VILLAGE – LATE AFTERNOON Yeshua preaches his anti-Roman sermon to the men of the village. YESHUA (V.O.) And everywhere we stopped, men decided to follow us. Sometimes whole families. CUT TO: EXT. REBEL CAMP/SEASIDE – SUNSET The camp is set in the rocky terrain next to the sea. The rebels, who now number several hundred, are resting on bedrolls around campfires. Many of the rebels have brought their FAMILIES with them. The ELDERLY are staying warm in the caves. CHILDREN are huddled with their mothers. James stands in the water, spearing fish. WOMEN are cooking fish around campfires. They are grouped together around the fires and not interacting with the men.
65 Adino approaches AMOS, one of the rebel fighters. Amos has hung a red rag between the eyes of his horse. ADINO Amos, what are you doing? AMOS What do you think I am doing? I do not want to fall. Adino laughs. ADINO You do not want to fall? And you think this… AMOS It’s a tried and true safeguard. Adino spots many necklaces around Amos’s neck. He pulls them up out of the neck of his clothes. Each string is laden with bits of different items. Adino inspects each of them, laughing. ADINO What is this? Shells. Teeth. A lunar crescent. A star. AMOS Leave those alone! I need them. ADINO What are they for? Evil spirits?
66 AMOS As a matter of fact, yes. ADINO You don’t really believe in these things do you? AMOS Can you offer me protection? Adino looks over at Yeshua, who is washing his hands in the sea. ADINO You should look to him. AMOS He is a good fighter. ADINO And a good leader. I’ve watched him from the beginning. He can create an army. Amos chuckles. AMOS He is taking fishermen and sandal-makers and grandfathers and children and is teaching them to attack legions of soldiers! ADINO If you doubt he can do it, why do you follow him?
67 AMOS Why do you? ADINO My wife. My daughters. AMOS Ah. You brought them with you? ADINO Soldiers took my daughters when I could not pay my tax. My wife died of grief. The two men suddenly seem more interested in looking at the horse than in talking to one another. FADE TO: EXT. REBEL CAMP/SEASHORE – SUNSET Yeshua is still washing his hands. James approaches and sits down. JAMES This is what my father wanted. YESHUA Mine too. JAMES What do you want? Just revenge? Yeshua stops washing his hands and sits down.
68 He looks over at the campfire of women. He watches a couple of young, pretty women talking and laughing. YESHUA Only peace. He slightly smiles. YESHUA And revenge. He drops his eyes. YESHUA I go from village to village telling people that, if they follow me, they will be doing what the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob wants. JAMES Yes? YESHUA Do you know how the Essenes pictured God? A great general. They train daily to be the army that the Messiah will use to rescue Israel. Your father, my father, Zadok—they saw God as a piece of our culture that needed defending, and they fought against any who oppose him…in any way. JAMES And what do you believe?
69 Yeshua keeps looking at the ground, silent. JAMES (reassuringly) You are doing the will of God. He has used you. You have helped so many. Yeshua shrugs. He is depressed. YESHUA If I give a village enough food for a week or I kill twenty soldiers in one attack, it is the same. Victory for a second, then it returns. JAMES What returns? YESHUA My father’s face… his dying body. Sepphoris. Meshach. Zadok. Your father. Sometimes I hate them as much as the Romans for never leaving my thoughts. I am full of hate… Yeshua stops and smiles darkly. YESHUA How can I be so full and so empty at the same time? CUT TO:
70 EXT. FIRESIDE – NIGHT A loaf of bread being lowered. It is in the hands of ZECHARIAH, an older Pharisee, he has just blessed it. He breaks it and passes it around to the others. We pull back to see several of the rebels sitting around a campfire. Other fires and groups can be seen in the background. LATER They are now lounging around, laughing and talking. They are eating bread, fruit, and fish and drinking wine. AMOS My father used to say that when the Messiah comes there will be no shortage of bread and wine. (gesturing with grapes) Grapes and kernels of grain will be as large as a bull’s kidneys. PHARISEE Well my teacher used to say that if you are fishing when someone tells you the Messiah has come, go ahead and finish your day of fishing. Then cook and eat your fish, because there is no hurry. JAMES He will be a warrior. And it will be soon. ADINO Yeshua, what do you say?
71 YESHUA The Essenes do not believe that he will be a man. SIMON A woman? Everyone laughs at the idea as ridiculous. YESHUA No, no, I mean one man. They believe there will be three that will lead us all in the final battle against the Sons of Darkness. A prophet, a priest, and a king. Zechariah clears his throat. Everyone stops to give him attention. He pauses before he speaks, choosing his words carefully. ZECHARIAH The Messiah has been foretold for centuries as the deliverer of Israel. Centuries. Thousands of years, even… much longer than the Romans have been here. ADINO Yes? ZECHARIAH Caesar is nothing compared to Nebuchadnezzar, and yet Babylon fell at the hand of God. As did Assyria. Rome will fall too.
72 ADINO (Testily) Yes it will. What are you saying? ZECHARIAH That perhaps the Messiah is not meant to come only to quell Rome. Is Rome such a great enemy of God? Are their statues any worse than Nebuchadnezzar’s? Yeshua quietly takes this in. Zechariah’s words disturb and anger him, but he gains composure before he speaks. YESHUA You have heard about what the Governor is doing now? This monstrosity in the desert? ZECHARIAH Yes, Yeshua. ADINO He could fill in all the wells, and then all would be completely dependent on him, on Rome! ZECHARIAH I know. But it could be the will of God. All react indignantly. Zechariah holds up his hand to silence them until they calm down.
73 ZECHARIAH You are eager for the Messiah. Well, in the prophet Ezekiel’s vision, at the time of the Messiah’s kingdom, water will flow from the temple to the sea. When it reaches the sea, its waters will be healed. YESHUA (trying to stay controlled) Each village already has a ‘master of the waters’ who controls the wells. ZECHARIAH It has always been that way. YESHUA (fervently) Then with all due respect, Rabbi, how could it be the will of God for the Governor to take that power for himself?!! Zechariah looks at Yeshua pityingly. ZECHARIAH Remember Joseph, Yeshua. What he said to his brothers who had sold him into slavery. “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” The Governor may simply be a tool in the Lord’s hands. Yeshua notices Adino and several others watching him, eagerly anticipating words of hope.
74 YESHUA (firmly) A hammer and a nail are both tools. But in order to build, a carpenter must use the first to strike the second. Adino leans over to James and speaks just to him. ADINO I say the Messiah will be a warrior, and it will be NOW. CUT TO: EXT. CAMP - MORNING Adino stands in front of the men; most are still lying down; some are starting to stir around the camp. ADINO I need volunteers. Three of the men rise. CUT TO: INT. BLACKSMITH SHOP - MORNING Focus on an arm of a BLACKSMITH working in an open shed. Adino approaches the three blacksmiths with arms filled with bits of armor, small sacks of gold and silver coins, and a Roman breastplate. He dumps the lot on the blacksmiths’ table.
75 ADINO I need a gift worthy of a king. SWITCH TO: INT. JERUSALEM/PRAETORIUM – DAY The Governor sits at his desk, writing on parchment. DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. JERUSALEM – DAY The Governor enters Jerusalem with his entourage. This time he is on a majestic black horse. GOVERNOR (V.O.) Sejanus, everywhere I go in this place I find myself appalled at the archaic means by which these people survive. They are fooled into thinking they are content. As he rides through the city he views a woman carrying a clay pot of water on her head. He spots other women with clay pots. They turn down an avenue adjacent to the street he is on. As he passes the entrance to the avenue he sees a small well. Women from all over the city are gathered around it, talking and laughing. They are gathering water in their pots.
76 As he rides on, he looks at the people on each side of the street. He focuses on face after face. He is only met with looks of coldness and anger. GOVERNOR (V.O.) I confess I was did not receive the welcome I had expected. FOCUS ON the Governor’s face as he rides. GOVERNOR (V.O.) I have had an idea. Something that will increase my favor with Caesar and win the support of the Jews at the same time. CUT TO:
EXT. AN AQUEDUCT - DAY We see a half-built version of an aqueduct. It is covered with scaffolds. Workers hoist slabs of stone. The Jordan River flows behind it. GOVERNOR (V.O.) An aqueduct. The best ever constructed by Roman design. This is why the Jews have been reluctant to accept Roman rule all this time—we haven’t offered them any of our improvements, our technology. Of course, I intend to dedicate it to Caesar. A knock on the door.
77 GOVERNOR Come. Malthus enters. MALTHUS You sent for me, sir? GOVERNOR I received word that rebels are encamped near the Dead Sea. Most likely the ones that attacked the outpost outside the city. Find out who they are… who is leading them. If they are found, kill them. MALTHUS They will be found, sir. Malthus turns and starts to leave. GOVERNOR Malthus. Malthus pauses, turns back, and stands at attention. GOVERNOR What do you think of my latest project, this aqueduct? He looks up toward Malthus, who is unsure of what to say. MALTHUS Sir?
78 GOVERNOR I was a fool to agree to tax the people for only such a small amount. It won’t be enough to finish. MALTHUS You could demand more, sir. The Governor laughs darkly. GOVERNOR The Jewish Passover festival is approaching. Do you realize what that means? Jews will be flocking to the city by the hundreds of thousands. I’m receiving reports of insurgent attacks on my troops every day. It would only take a handful of rebels to start a riot beyond my control. The Governor stops, shuts his eyes. GOVERNOR I stand on the edge of a knife, Malthus. I must pay for this project, but if the people revolt… Caesar has already warned me that the next blood spilt would be mine. Malthus peers out the tower window. He looks down at the Temple courtyard where an OLD JEWISH WIDOW is dropping money into the alms box.
79 MALTHUS May I remind you of your words, sir, that Caesar is God? Why not take the funding from their Temple? The Governor listens, considering this. GOVERNOR Yes…the people have already given it. It is out of their hands. We would only have to deal with the guards, and some of them might be bought. You are right, Malthus, Caesar is God, and he put me in charge. The Governor quickly rolls the parchment he was writing on, melts the sealing wax and stamps down with his ring. FLASH TO: EXT. BLACKSMITH SHOP – DAY The Governor's ring turns into a hammer. The blacksmiths are forging armor. SWITCH TO: EXT. OUTSIDE OF BARRACKS - MORNING Roman soldiers ready their armor and weapons; they rush out to the courtyard and line up. The CENTURION shouts orders and inspects his men. SWITCH TO:
80 EXT. VILLAGE - DAY Yeshua and other rebels talk to the VILLAGERS (men, women, and youths). They look afraid but brave at the same time. Yeshua and his men ready their weapons, mount their horses and ride out. SWITCH TO: EXT. CITY - DAY The CENTURY rides out of the city. People scatter everywhere to get out of their path. SWITCH TO: EXT. PLANE - DAY A group of about twenty REBELS are being chased at full gallop by the Roman century across the plane towards the rocky hills. The rebels are outnumbered. They enter a canyon; it is narrow, only four horses wide. The Romans pursue. SWITCH TO:
EXT. CANYON RIM - DAY Old men, women, children--all of the villagers that are unable to fight--plus a few of Yeshua’s strongest soldiers are hiding on top of the rim, waiting for the century to enter the canyon.
81 CANYON FLOOR The last of the Roman century enter the canyon. CANYON RIM The villagers work together to pull ropes that are attached to a great rigging of rocks. The rocks collapse down the canyon wall crushing the last few soldiers and trapping all inside. CANYON FLOOR The Centurion sees his error. A look of anger and then of dismay comes over him. He holds up his hand to order his men to break off the attack. From above comes the sound of a shofar being blown. Rocks the size of basketballs and watermelons come hurling over the canyon wall! One hits the centurion, decapitating him. The villagers toss and roll stones off of the cliff at them. There are also a few archers picking the soldiers off, one by one, starting with the highest ranking officers and working their way down. The Romans have no choice but to press on. As they gallop ahead they seem to have gone out of range of the villagers. MINUTES LATER The soldiers have regrouped. The commanding soldiers look around at the canyon walls. There is nowhere to go but forward, but there is no sign of the rebels they were chasing before.
82 The soldiers begin to move through the canyon. The canyon twists and turns until it opens up into a wider valley. There sits Yeshua on his horse! He wears his new armor—-it is silver plated with a gold menorah on his chest, decorated all around by olive branches in gold. It gleams in the sunlight. Behind him are 200 heavily armed men. They ride over the top of what is left of the century; it is an easy victory. FADE TO: EXT. A VILLAGE STREET – SUNRISE
RIDERS ARE TOPPING A HILL JUST AS THE SUN IS. People start to trickle towards the riders. There are more and more of them until CROWDS form on both sides of the road. The crowds are waving palm branches and throwing their cloaks into the street in front of the foremost rider. The rider is Yeshua. Yeshua is riding a large white stallion that previously belonged to the centurion. He is, again, wearing the “kingly” armor that Adino had made for him. Adino rides slightly behind him to his right. He is holding a long pole, and tied to the end is a Roman soldier with his hands bound behind his back. The Roman is stripped down to just his robe and is beaten and battered. People are spitting on the soldier and throwing things at him. The crowd is praising Yeshua. Adino rides up beside Yeshua to speak to him.
83 ADINO I think they believe you could be the Messiah. Yeshua surveys the crowd and gives a slight smile. YESHUA If they keep treating me like this, I may start to believe them myself. ADINO (jestingly) What is next then, oh great king? YESHUA (grandly) What else... we ride to Jerusalem. ADINO laughs. YESHUA I have arranged to meet with the faction leaders. ADINO Why? Is there news? YESHUA It seems that the Governor has taken money from the temple treasury to pay for the aqueduct.
84 ADINO The temple! Our temple! He steals from God. YESHUA We will be in Jerusalem tomorrow. We will know then if these things are true. ADINO Then it would be open war? YESHUA Yes. The group rides on through the street and out of view with the rest of the rebel soldiers walking behind. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. AQUEDUCT – DAY We see an almost complete aqueduct structure. Workers are going about their business. In the distance we see a group of riders approaching. A worker stops and notices them coming. We follow the riders Yeshua, Adino, and a the workers start to lops off the head of as they gallop at full speed; they are few OTHERS. As they near the aqueduct scatter. Adino pulls his sword and the first worker he comes to. CUT TO:
85 EXT. ROAD INTO JERUSALEM - DAY Yeshua, Adino, Simon, and James walk on the main road into Jerusalem among many other travelers. They are dressed to blend into the crowd. On their way into the city they pass Golgotha, the place of Roman execution. It is a mound littered with skulls/skeletons, and the main road passes right by it. Three empty stipes stick out of the hill like claws. To the side of these, two crosses bear crucified men. The crossbars rest on top of the stipes. Attached to the crossbar above each criminal’s head is a sign. SIMON (pointing) Adino, look at that. “Ananias… Runaway slave.” I can see yours now. “Adino… Stopped running water by lopping off heads.” You’ll need a sign as wide as your cross. JAMES Simon, don’t. YESHUA Let them have their fun. JAMES Our father was crucified! YESHUA As was mine. You know that.
86 Yeshua acts like he is going to say more, but stops and looks at the crosses for a moment. The crucified man whose sign they read is an older man with gray hair. We see that his arms have been nailed through the wrists. He is covered in blood—-what skin we can see is extremely pale. He has been lashed so badly that the skin on his ribs and legs is in shreds. His lower back gapes open so that his kidneys show. His feet have been nailed to the stipe. Yeshua and his friends continue walking into the city. CUT TO: EXT. OUTSIDE THE TEMPLE — DAY Yeshua enters into the Temple courtyard with Zechariah. He looks all around him. The area is almost empty, save for a few loose chickens pecking around and a few vendors collecting their merchandise from the ground. Tables have been upturned. Cloth, fruit, and jewelry are all scattered on the pavement. There are a few villagers quickly taking items off of the ground while the vendors try to shoo them away. Yeshua stands taking in the scene in confusion. YESHUA (Angrily) What are the Romans trying to prove by this? Haven’t they done enough already? TWO PHARISEES approach them; one older - TOBIAS, and one younger - KEMUEL.
87 TOBIAS Peace be with you…Not the Romans this time. Come. Let us talk elsewhere. They all exit the temple complex. CUT TO: EXT. JERUSALEM STREET – DAY MALACHI, a middle-aged man, well-dressed and wearing gold jewelry, approaches Yeshua. With him is a young man, his nephew LEVI. As they greet one another. Zechariah and the rest of the group continue on. YESHUA Malachi! Good to see you, my friend. I thought you had returned to Sepphoris. MALACHI I did. Completely rebuilt. I might as well be in Rome. Yeshua nods. YESHUA (sarcastically) “The Jewel of Galilee”. MALACHI Jewel? A giant tombstone. The conversation reaches an awkward silence. Yeshua acknowledges Levi, who all this time has been chomping at the bits to meet Yeshua.
88 YESHUA Who is this? MALACHI This is my brother David’s son. Levi pushes past his uncle to stand next to Yeshua. LEVI I have come to fight with you. YESHUA What is your name? LEVI Levi. YESHUA Levi, how do you expect me to respect a man who does not respect his elders? Levi collects himself and makes a curt nod of apology to his uncle. YESHUA Now tell me why. What is it you want?
89 LEVI My father would not pay the tribute required to Caesar. He was fined, and when he would not pay the fine they took our land, our home—-all he had worked for. He died last winter. YESHUA And you know how to fight? LEVI I know how to hate. YESHUA If hate were all that were needed I could have freed all of Israel years ago. Go home to your mother. Malachi pulls Yeshua aside. MALACHI I know the boy is naïve and hot-tempered. That is why I would rather place him under your watch than have him act foolishly on his own. (Pausing and looking back at Levi) He needs someone to lead him. Ever since his father died he has been wandering around the whole countryside following all kinds of heretics and people claiming to have the answers. Please, for my sake.
90 Yeshua looks back at the boy and, against his better judgment, nods in agreement. CUT TO:
INT. A HOUSE/JERUSALEM - NIGHT We hear raised voices as we move around a dark corner revealing a crowded room. Yeshua is near the center of the room arguing with AARON, one of the Jerusalem rebel leaders. Simon and Levi are huddled in a corner playing mancala. They are talking quietly and, by his gestures, we can tell that Simon is telling Levi about their adventures fighting the Romans in the wilderness. Adino and a few others line the wall behind Yeshua. Tobias sits in the back watching. Yeshua has an unsettled look. YESHUA I have kept a close eye on the Governor. He is rash. Desperate. There is no way to know how he will react. AARON We know how to handle this man! He is not as eager to shed blood as you say he is. YESHUA You’re walking into a death trap! I’ll have no part in it.
91 AARON When this Governor first came to Judea, he dared to bring graven images into the Holy City. We confronted him, and he threatened us with death. We would rather die. So we fell on our knees and bared our necks to the soldiers. He gestures toward his neck and then flourishes away his hand as if to say “See, we called his bluff, and we’re still ok!” AARON (smugly) He sent word to have the ensigns removed. -- So you see, we can deal with him. YESHUA This time might not be so easy! Aaron looks at Yeshua as if he is an idiot. He gets up and storms out, followed by a few of his men. Tobias and a couple of others rise and come to Yeshua. TOBIAS We would like to speak to you about… the other matter.
92 YESHUA I already told you. Magicians and prophets are no concern of mine unless they are willing to fight. Let them all have as many followers as are willing. It will keep Rome’s eye occupied, and off of us. Kemuel comes into the room and men speak for a moment. Yeshua nod in agreement. Tobias hands Kemuel leaves just as suddenly back to Yeshua. motions for Tobias. The two stares intently. They both Kemuel a small money bag and as he came in. Tobias turns
TOBIAS We will take care of the matter ourselves. Tobias exits. YESHUA James. James comes to Yeshua’s side. YESHUA Follow them. James exits. YESHUA (to Adino) We may be able to use this to our advantage. They will draw the Governor out. Then we can strike.
93 ADINO I will ready the men. FADE TO:
EXT. MAIN ENTRANCE OF TEMPLE – DAY People stand in a long line. They are carrying their sacrifices into the temple. Adino and Yeshua hurry past. CUT TO:
EXT. OUTSIDE THE PRAETORIUM - DAY Adino and Yeshua come around the other side of the temple to see the streets filled with thousands of Jews, shouting and protesting. The people are on the verge of a riot. Yeshua and Adino make their way through the crowd. They almost have to shout at each other in order to be heard. YESHUA I feel this could have a very different outcome than they expect. Yeshua runs up the steps of a nearby building to get a better view. He spots the local faction of leaders near the gates of the Praetorium just as they are about to go inside. CUT TO: INT. PRAETORIUM ANTECHAMBER - DAY The Governor stands at the doorway of the Praetorium looking out at the thunderous crowd.
94 He hears Malthus approaching behind him. He sighs but does not turn around. GOVERNOR I was right about one thing, Malthus… I can do what no governor before me could. MALTHUS The aqueduct is a good thing, sir. Some of the farmers and merchants have already asked for larger contracts. They know their economy will increase. These people will see. GOVERNOR These people? These people?!! The Governor turns, grabs Malthus by the arm and shows him the crowd. GOVERNOR It was only a few of these people who attacked my workers. They lost me a whole day’s progress. How many people do you see in front of you, Malthus? I only have six thousand men to keep order with throughout the whole province! He lets Malthus go, with a shove, back into the antechamber.
95 GOVERNOR I’ve just had word that Sejanus, my mentor, my sponsor, was executed for conspiring against the Emperor! The eyes of Rome are on me now, harder than ever. This structure, this aqueduct, must come to fruition! The Governor turns back around to watch the crowd. He almost seems panicked. CUT TO:
EXT. OUTSIDE THE PRAETORIUM – DAY A MAN holding a cloak approaches Yeshua. YESHUA Just in time. MAN The crowds are pressing hard. I almost couldn’t get through. The man hands him a short spear with a leather strap to be used as an atl-atl and a cloak. CUT TO:
INT. PRAETORIUM COURTYARD– DAY The mood of the scene is calmer than in the street but still tense.
96 The leaders of the rebellion gather to make their case to the Governor. The Governor is standing in front of his judgment seat. He is dressed in his armor breastplate as if ready for battle. He is scowling. There is a row of guards lining the front of the steps. GOVERNOR (shouting) People, I have tried to be fair to you all while I have been here. Yeshua and Adino make their way inside and work their way into the crowd. Yeshua is wearing the cloak that was just brought to him. ROMAN SOLDIERS DRESSED AS JEWS enter and position themselves through the crowd. GOVERNOR I have improved your cities and with that come taxes. I have built this aqueduct to provide for this city. Tell me, why should you not pay for it? The Governor’s speech is met with disapproving shouts from the crowd. Yeshua spots Levi in the crowd. YESHUA (to Adino) That fool is going to get killed in here. Go get him out.
97 As Adino starts to leave, The Governor takes one step forward, Yeshua sees his chance. He throws off his cloak and flings the spear at the Governor, but one of his bodyguards dives in front of him in time and deflects the spear with his shield. From the crowd the disguised Romans pull out staves from under their robes and start clubbing people in the crowd. Yeshua pulls out his sicarii dagger and attacks the nearest soldier, cutting his throat and taking his stave. INTERMIX WITH:
INT. TEMPLE - DAY Priests are gathered around the sacrificial table, cutting the throat of a Passover lamb. FLASH TO:
INT. PRAETORIUM – DAY More soldiers, fully armed, come out of the Praetorium. Yeshua bashes one of the armed soldiers in the face with the stave and takes his sword. He attacks soldiers right and left with his dagger and sword. He spots Levi and tries to work his way toward him through the crowd. Adino sees Yeshua across the courtyard. He plows through Roman soldiers to get to him, killing or severely wounding each with his sword. He fights like the obsessed warrior that he is.
98 As Yeshua is fighting off the soldiers he becomes outnumbered. Suddenly Adino comes from nowhere and runs a soldier through, just as he is about to strike Yeshua. Another wave of solders attack. Yeshua wrestles with a soldier and they slam into the wall. A large thorny vine grows up the wall and winds around the windows. Yeshua can’t reach his dagger and has to let go of the soldier’s arm as the solder mashes Yeshua’s face into the thorny vine. Yeshua finally gets a hold on the solder; he maneuvers him into a submissive position and breaks his neck. Yeshua’s face is bloody from the thorns. Adino is fighting and wrestling with a LARGE SOLDIER. Adino has dropped his sword. The soldier seems to have the upper hand on him. Levi stands nearby with a dagger in his hand and a look of bewilderment. Adino starts screaming at Levi. ADINO Stab him you fool.-- Help me. Levi rushes over and drives his dagger into the soldier’s kidneys. Levi then recoils with a look of horror. Adino finishes off the soldier. Yeshua makes his way over to the two. ADINO We have to get you out of here. YESHUA You have to get him out of here. And yourself. -- Do it now… I’ll be fine! Adino hesitates for a moment then gathers up Levi and ducks out of the nearest exit.
99 Suddenly a soldier strikes Yeshua in the head, and he falls to the ground. More soldiers surround Yeshua and strike him repeatedly. CUT TO: INT. TEMPLE - DAY The blood of the lamb flows off of the table into a channel filled with blood from all the sacrifices of the day; it flows to the bottom of temple wall, through a hole, and out into the street where – CUT TO: EXT. STREET - AFTERNOON Very few people can be seen in the streets. The dead lay strewn about. Overturned carts and abandoned baskets are scattered as well as sandals left behind by the people running off. Most of the injured have already been taken away. An insurgent lays face down in a pool of his own blood. Near him is the blood channel flowing from the temple. The man's blood flows into the channel, is mixed with the sacrifices’, and is carried away. CUT TO: EXT. PRAETORIUM WALL - DAY Some of the survivors have been gathered, and they are sitting, lying, and leaning next to the wall of the Praetorium. Among them we see Yeshua. Soldiers stand guard; others can be seen in the background checking the bodies of men lying in the street.
100 A ONE-EYED SOLDIER walks along examining the survivors; he stops in front of Yeshua, looking at him for a moment. Yeshua has been beaten badly and is barely conscious. He can hardly keep himself leaning against the wall. The one-eyed soldier stands in front of Yeshua while attracting the attention of a CENTURION. ONE-EYED SOLDIER This is one of their leaders. CENTURION Are you certain? ONE-EYED SOLDIER Absolutely. This man and his followers left me for dead. (pointing to his missing eye) If it weren’t for a Samaritan that came along I would have been eaten alive the buzzards. Yeshua, concussed, sags down the wall. The centurion pulls him up by the throat and slams him against the wall. Yeshua gathers enough strength to spit in his face. The centurion beckons to another soldier. CENTURION Take this one inside for questioning. There may be more of them hidden. Start a search of the city. CUT TO:
101 INT. INTERROGATION ROOM – SUNSET Soldiers fling Yeshua into the room. He falls, crumpled, to the floor. Malthus approaches Yeshua and stands over him. He kicks Yeshua, who, with a surge of adrenaline brought on by frustration, springs up and tries to attack Malthus. A soldier intervenes--he strikes Yeshua hard over the head with a baton. Yeshua collapses. He now has the deep gash on his head from the opening scene. MALTHUS What is your name? Yeshua is silent. MALTHUS The attack on the aqueduct workers—was that you? Yeshua looks up. YESHUA It was. MALTHUS The canyon? Yeshua smirks. YESHUA Yes.
102 MALTHUS I’m sure that I could ask you about a dozen others and all of your answers would be in the affirmative. YESHUA I am sure. Malthus walks slowly around Yeshua, sizing him up. MALTHUS I confess I am disappointed. In you, I mean. Not at all what I had expected. You don’t look like much. Yeshua gives Malthus an equally derisive look of appraisal. YESHUA And you are deceived. Malthus stops. MALTHUS Oh? Am I? I apologize. I would be very interested to learn who you are. Yeshua grins. YESHUA You believe that your colossal empire will dominate the entire world because you have claimed small pieces of it. Do you have any idea who you have taken on?
103 Malthus laughs. MALTHUS I see! I was expecting a great leader…you are nothing but a madman who coerces people into following him! How many of those have I heard of this year?! YESHUA Rome will die. Malthus continues to laugh. Yeshua stirs like he will spring up again. A soldier kicks him down. Yeshua smiles as he remembers Zadok. YESHUA Like a lizard that sits too long on the face of a rock. Malthus finds him entertaining. MALTHUS And what does that mean? YESHUA (intense) Every foreign invader who has dared entered our land--every nation that has enslaved us-has been driven out of existence. We have the promise of God. Israel will stand forever!
104 Malthus stands stunned for a moment, then grins as he looks at the sorry picture Yeshua makes crumpled on the floor. MALTHUS Well…it seems that when your God was making his promise, he forgot to include you. Yeshua’s face is defiant, but his eyes scream with pain, as if the last of his faith has been crushed. He tries to get up again and Malthus kicks him. MALTHUS (to the guards) When you are finished, chain him to the floor. The soldiers start toward Yeshua to give him another beating. CUT TO: INT. GOVERNOR’S OFFICE – DAY The Governor is sitting at his table writing, still wearing his armor. CENTURION Sir, we have their leader. The Governor pauses momentarily, barely looking up. GOVERNOR Good…open it then. CUT TO:
105 EXT. THE JORDAN RIVER - DAY As a soldier looks on, a MAN WITH A LARGE SLEDGE knocks a plank out of a stone channel to let water run. The flowing water fills the channel and races toward the mighty city of Jerusalem. CUT TO: EXT. AQUIFER - DAY The aqueduct leads directly up to the wall of Jerusalem. As water pours over the top it fills a large stone reservoir. People pass by totally unceremoniously. Several pipes are leading out of the reservoir. We follow one of these pipes as it leads us to the Praetorium, where we see a crack in the pipe that starts to drip on the ground. The water forms a puddle directly in front of a small barred window near the ground. FADE TO:
INT. PRISON – EARLY MORNING The sun is barely beginning to rise. Water from the pool outside trickles through the bars and down the wall. It catches a faint shaft of light that is trying to come through the window. Yeshua sits alone in his thoughts. The others are either passed out or asleep. We hear a great commotion of a crowd coming from out the window.
106 Three soldiers come in to the cell. They unlock Yeshua’s shackles. Yeshua’s arms drop limp. He looks up at the guards with a look of ultimate hate, frustration, and sadness. He wants to physically fight them off, but he is too exhausted and has been too badly beaten to move. One side of his face is swollen. He does not speak. Two of the guards hang on to him tightly as they place shackles on his arms and raise him to his feet. Adino, who was asleep when the guards enter, wakes up. ADINO Children of pigs! Swine!
GUARD #1, nearest him, laughs at him playfully. ADINO Insects. We will squash you like insects! The guard chuckles until he becomes bored, then kicks Adino in the knees and turns away. GUARD #2 (to Yeshua) Did you sleep well? Can we get you anything? GUARD #3 We have been so honored to have a celebrity staying with us.
107 ADINO (O.S.) Rodents! Vermin! Filth! Yeshua raises his head and looks at his hecklers, then at his comrades in chains. The old prisoner is reclining on his bench, unshaken by the commotion. Adino is still looking at Yeshua with a deranged look of hope. Levi watches him with a mixture of sadness and fear for his own fate. Yeshua hangs his head, dejected. He is resigned to his death. The guards pull Yeshua toward the cell door--two of them on either side of him and one behind them. Yeshua does not struggle. He looks back over his shoulder at his cellmates. Levi and Adino watch Yeshua leave until the door is closed. SWITCH TO: INT. PRISON HALLWAY – EARLY MORNING All is quiet and still. The soldiers lead him down a long corridor. It is completely empty except for them. As they go down the hall, they pass a wide-open doorway. Yeshua glances out into a courtyard. He sees a whipping post, splattered in old blood. He sees huge wooden crossbars, scarred and blood-splattered. Not a soul is in the courtyard.
108 Yeshua looks down the hallway ahead of him in confusion. Why didn’t they stop at the flogging post? He turns his head to look back at the doorway, bewildered. The guard trailing behind him gives him a shove with the blunt end of his spear. GUARD Keep moving, Jew! They lead him up to the top of a stairway to a door. Another of the guards stops him for a moment. GUARD Pilate has something special planned for you. They push Yeshua onto the platform outside. CUT TO: EXT. PRAETORIUM COURTYARD – EARLY MORNING As Yeshua stumbles onto the platform, orange beads of early sunlight greet his eyes. He squints, having become accustomed to the dark cell. While Yeshua is still blinded by the sunbeams he hears the roar of a crowd and sees the movement of a blurry mob. As his eyes adjust he sees PHARISEES, SCRIBES, PRIESTS, and at the front of the crowd the HIGH PRIEST with Tobias and Kemuel just behind him. The rest of the courtyard is filled with JEWS, shouting incoherently. He scans the courtyard, looking for his men. He spots James just far enough away from Tobias not to be noticed.
109 PILATE (O.S.) You have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at the Passover. He turns to see PILATE - the man we know as the Governor to his right, standing just in front of his stone judge’s bench. He looks weary from the events of the last two days. He is still wearing his armored breastplate. Malthus steps up and shoves Yeshua forward. As Yeshua stumbles forward he has a glimpse of someone on the other side of Pilate. Yeshua slowly takes another step forward. Another man comes into view. He first notices that the man is dressed in what was once a nice garment, which has now been torn to shreds. He has been beaten badly and is very bloody. There is a purple kingly robe draped over him. This is JESUS. Jesus turns and looks directly at Yeshua. His gaze is steady; unwavering. Meanwhile Pilate addresses the crowd. PILATE Who do you want me to release to you? This man Yeshua barAbbas, (gesturing to Yeshua) the son of his father… As Yeshua returns Jesus’ gaze, all TIME SLOWS DOWN and all sounds are muffled into the background. They do not shout as they speak to each other across the stage. They speak as if they were sitting next to each other.
110 JESUS Yeshua, son of Eleazar. Yeshua stares at him questioningly; he doesn’t recall ever meeting him before. YESHUA You know me? JESUS I know that you have been fighting all of your life and you still are empty. Yeshua is unsure what to make of this statement. Who is this? How does he know these things? Yeshua fidgets, uncomfortable with Jesus’ stare and his words. For the moment he has forgotten that he is a public spectacle. YESHUA You read minds. You are a magician? Why are you up here? JESUS I have come so that you may have life, and that you may have it to the fullest. YESHUA Have life? I am about to die! JESUS I will bear your cross for you. Go now and sin no more.
111 Time suddenly resumes its normal pace. Pilate’s voice startles him. PILATE (gesturing to Jesus) …or this man Yeshua, who is called the Messiah, the Son of God? The focus is on Jesus’/Yeshua’s faces, but in the background a EUNUCH (bald-headed and in a long robe) comes and hands Pilate a wax tablet. We focus on James in the crowd. JAMES Bar-Abbas! Yeshua bar-Abbas! The Pharisees nod in agreement in an almost comical manner; they turn to the crowd and motion for them to yell for BARABBAS’ release. Some of the Pharisees scatter through the crowd, telling individuals to shout “Bar-Abbas!” James rallies the people around him to shout. A few at a time they begin to shout, until the whole crowd is fervently shouting: CROWD Barabbas! Release Barabbas! Pilate, looking very uneasy, addresses the crowd.
112 PILATE Yeshua bar-Abbas is charged with murder, thievery, and insurrection. Against certain Jews as well as Rome. I see him as the misleader of the people, (gesturing to Jesus) not this man. CROWD Away with this man! Release to us bar-Abbas! The Nazarene is the criminal! Not this man, but bar-Abbas! PILATE Then what shall I do with your King? CROWD Crucify Him! Execute him! Death! He is not our king! We have no king but Caesar! PILATE Why should I crucify him? What has this man done wrong? CAIPHAS, the high priest, steps forward. He motions toward Jesus.
113 CAIPHAS He tells his followers not to pay taxes to Caesar. He undermines Rome with his teachings. Thousands listen to him. It is his plan to use his followers to leverage you out of Judea! Pilate looks at Jesus, and then for a long time at Yeshua in confusion. These accusations sound just like Yeshua’s crimes. Who is the right person to release? TOBIAS And on top of that, Governor, he believes, and all his followers believe, that he is the Messiah and will defeat Rome. CROWD You’re no friend to Caesar if you pardon him! He is a heretic! He is a blasphemer! We want Yeshua bar-Abbas! Release to us bar-Abbas! The crowd goes insane and some even try to come up the steps to get to them. There is a small clashing and Malthus orders the soldiers to attend the crowd. Yeshua stands as still as a mannequin, watching the scene in front of him. He focuses on the faces of different people in the crowd, all strangers to him, as they shout out his name. He slowly turns back to face Jesus. He sees nothing but honesty and innocence in Jesus’ face. It is as if, after Jesus said he would bear his cross, he had decided to take his accusation and blame as well.
114 YESHUA Who are you? JESUS I AM. Pilate motions to have Yeshua released. Malthus looks at Pilate questioningly. Pilate returns a look that is both authoritative and completely frustrated. Malthus works to unchain Yeshua’s hands. Concurrently in the background: A young man brings Pilate a bowl. Pilate washes his hands. Yeshua is free but doesn’t notice; he just stands there staring at Jesus. A soldier gives him a push, but he doesn’t go. soldier pushes him down the stairs. Then the
INT. PRISON CELL – MORNING The prisoner is standing on his bench looking out the window; he has seen Yeshua being released. He looks back at Adino and Levi; Adino is celebrating to himself. Levi hangs his head. All three turn as the door opens. Soldiers stand at the door, ready to take Adino and Levi to be crucified. CUT TO:
115 EXT. COURTYARD – MORNING Yeshua gets up stiffly and painfully. James rushes up to him immediately. The crowd is exiting to the side, following the ones leading away Jesus. For the first time Yeshua realizes that he is free and is not going to die. He looks up at the podium and sees Pilate staring intently at him. James and Yeshua are almost the only ones left in the courtyard. Yeshua and Pilate exchange looks for a moment: Yeshua’s look is still of bewilderment at his sudden pardon; Pilate’s is of hate and frustration. James pulls at Yeshua’s arm. JAMES Yeshua, come. Quickly! Yeshua turns quickly and the two exit the complex. CUT TO:
EXT. STREET - DAY Yeshua is still very weak and badly injured. He stops to rest and get his mind around what just happened. YESHUA What…why would Pilate bow to the crowd like that when just days ago he sent in troops against unarmed men?
116 JAMES He is vulnerable. Most of his soldiers are out in the countryside looking for our men. YESHUA And the city is full of pilgrims. -- We must find our men. JAMES There must be a remnant still in the city. -- You need care. Although Yeshua’s body is weak, battered, and exhausted, his expression looks as though he’s had his first good night sleep in years. YESHUA That was the prophet with all the followers? James looks around the courtyard as if wondering what happened to Jesus’ multitudes. He motions toward a LARGE MAN sitting and weeping on one of the pillars of the Praetorium. JAMES I believe he was one of them. The large man hears the two talking about him and jumps to his feet.
117 LARGE MAN Yes, I was. Yes I was. Yes I was! But don’t call me that. I don’t deserve to be called one. I have denied him… denied I even knew him. The large man turns and begins to walk away. JAMES Wait! He had so many followers—is there no plan? The large man turns to face them again. LARGE MAN Plan? JAMES A rescue, a revolt, anything? LARGE MAN It is too late. He is cursed! -- I am cursed! Yeshua takes a step toward him. YESHUA Moments ago I was condemned with no hope… Yeshua gestures as if to say “and now look at me”. The large man walks away. Yeshua turns and steps on a flat piece of wood in the mud. He picks it up. On it are written:
118 Yeshua “BAR-ABBAS” MURDERER and THIEF Yeshua holds the piece of wood up higher and studies it for a moment. He closes his eyes, taking in the significance of it. The piece of wood catches the sunlight and turns into… DISSOLVE TO:
INT. SMALL ROOM – SUNSET A piece of unleavened bread, held up by hands in front of sunset-bathed window. The hands slowly come down in front of the owner’s face to reveal an older Yeshua. He wears a prayer shawl, but we see that his hair and beard have grayed. Meanwhile Yeshua is praying, blessing the bread. He sways back and forth as he prays. YESHUA Our Lord said “This is my body given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” He breaks the bread into three pieces. He keeps one, and then hands the second piece to his WIFE, seated at his left. He then slowly hands the third piece to the person sitting at his right hand. His hand moves past the feathers of a helmet on the floor. The person who receives the bread is a ROMAN. FADE OUT.