"THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST"

Screenplay by

Paul Schrader

Based on a novel by

Nikos Kazantzakis



EXT. NAZARETH - MORNING

From above: Flying close over a thick grove of olive trees.
MUSIC fades into the sound of wings beating through the air.
We hear (OVER) the voice of a young man, thoughtful but
strong.

JESUS (V.O.)
The feeling begins. It's a light
tingling at first. Right on the top
of my head. Very tender. Like a
caress. Soft wings carrying me to
Paradise. Then the pain starts.

Now we see JESUS, the son of Mary, 28 years-old, sleeping
under an olive tree. The mid-morning sun (OVER-EXPOSED) shines
on his stubby face. He is dreaming.

JESUS (V.O.)
It feels like the bird has grabbed
me from behind. Just above the neck.
Talons slip underneath the skin and
work and claw their way up the back
of my neck. Then the real pain begins.
Each claw digs into the soft matter
behind my brain, and then across the
top of my head toward my eyes. Just
before they reach my eyes, they dig
down...

Jesus wakens. He looks around.

JESUS (V.O.)
And I remember. I have to make a
cross.

While he is still speaking he reaches up to touch the back
of his head, where the pain started. He pulls his fingers
away. There is blood on them.

CUT TO:

INT. CARPENTER'S WORKSHOP - DAY

Jesus shapes a long piece of timber with an adze. His patched
tunic rests on the workbench. Walls are hung with tools.

A nail-studded belt hangs from a hook above his head. The
belt is speckled with dried blood. Two drops of fresh blood
drip off the belt onto the ground.

JESUS (V.O.)
At first I fasted for three months.
Then I whipped myself before sleeping.
At first it worked, then the headaches
returned. I know it's God. Or the
devil. Who can tell them apart? They
exchange faces; God sometimes becomes
all darkness, the devil all light,
and they become confused in my mind.

Outside, there are NOISES of a crowd gathering nearby.
Undistracted, he finishes off the piece of timber, which has
become the crossbar of a cross. He places the crossbar between
two brackets on the wall, then puts himself halfway between
them and stretches out his arms, gauging the proper
proportion.

CUT TO:

EXT. NAZARETH STREET - DAY

Narrow and crowded with citizens on their way to a
crucifixion. A ROMAN SOLDIER watches them with professional
disinterest. His armour is non-existent, his uniform is
certainly not splendid. He looks like a sloppy traffic cop.
PEOPLE come from behind him and walk in front.

Over the soldier's left shoulder appears a man with blazing
red hair and beard, moving with the crowd. He walks close
behind the soldier for just a moment. Very professionally,
he cuts his throat. The soldier falls to the ground. The man
keeps walking calmly and the camera follows as, in the
background, people start to notice that a soldier has been
stabbed.

A WOMAN screams. Two other MEMBERS of the crowd grab her and
silence her, while SEVERAL OTHERS drag the body off into a
hut.

The red-haired man keeps walking. This is JUDAS.

CUT TO:

EXT. NAZARETH CARPENTER'S WORKSHOP - DAY

Jesus looks toward the door, almost as if he has felt the
murder.

JESUS (V.O.)
Who is it? Who are you? Why are you
following me?

Judas enters, sees Jesus working on the cross.

JUDAS
Are you ready?

Jesus doesn't answer.

JUDAS
I said are you ready?

He grabs him. Jesus still doesn't answer. He keeps working.

JUDAS
You're a disgrace.

Jesus smiles at him.

JESUS
I'm the disgrace? Judas, I see the
blood on your knife.

Judas lets go of him. He takes the knife from inside his
cloak and removes it from its scabbard. He wipes the blood
off the blade with a rag.

JUDAS
Come with us. Help us.

JESUS
Leave me alone.

JUDAS
No. This time you won't finish.

He grabs Jesus' hands and holds them.

JUDAS
Listen. Everything's ready. We're
going to save the Zealot. He could
be the one we've been waiting for.
You can't just pray for the Messiah.
You've got to help him. You can't
expect God to do everything. He needs
our help too.

JESUS
He'll have to do it without me.

JUDAS
You might be killing the Messiah.
This Zealot today is not like all
the others. I feel it. He's different.
Don't finish the cross. Come with
us. Don't you want to be part of it?
You want the Romans to be here
forever?

JESUS
The Messiah has nothing to do with
the Romans.

JUDAS
Yes he does. How else do you expect
to be free? If this Zealot is the
Messiah and we don't save him, then
he'll die and we'll never know. But
if we save him, the miracle might
happen.

JESUS
What miracle?

JUDAS
The sign, the signal. The royal crown
of David will shine on his head.

JESUS
It can't be much of a miracle if we
have to help.

JUDAS
You're not even ashamed.

JESUS
No.

JUDAS
Romans can't find carpenters to make
crosses. Except for you. You throw
yourself into it like a madman.
Everybody thinks you're crazy. But
not me. I can see through this act
of yours. Fainting, hearing voices,
having visions. Everyone thinks you're
a madman. But I know what your are.
You're an enemy. You're worse than
the Romans. You're a Jew who's killing
Jews. And you're not ashamed. You
don't even have any pride.

JESUS
No, I don't have any pride. I don't
go to Synagogue. I disobey the
commandments. I work on the Sabbath.
Your Messiahs? You find them, I'll
crucify them.

Judas hits Jesus across the mouth.

JUDAS
You're lucky you're a Jew.

JESUS
Why?

JUDAS
Anyone else would have been dead by
now. You think Zealots are murderers?
We're pathfinders, we're patriots,
and you're in the way.

JESUS
Then get me out of the way.

Judas and Jesus stare each other down.

JUDAS
I will. In my time. Not yours. When
I'm told.

JESUS
When did you ever need permission to
kill anybody?

JUDAS
To kill a Roman, never. To kill a
Jew, we all have to agree. We have
more respect for Jews than you do.
The next time I see you, you're dead.

CUT TO:

EXT. CARPENTER'S WORKSHOP - DAY

A CENTURION pushes his way through a small crowd.

Jesus stands ready outside the workshop, the crossbar resting
against a wall. The crowd is taunting him with cries of
"Crossmaker!," "Traitor," "Cooperator," "Collaborator," but
he ignores them.

Someone throws something. A MAN in the crowd deliberately
jostles him roughly, trying to start a fight. The Centurion
breaks things up.

CENTURION
Leave him alone. You ready?
(as Jesus nods)
Come on.

Jesus buckles the nail-studded belt around his waist. The
Centurion helps Jesus heft the cross-beam to his shoulders.
The Centurion leads Jesus through a gauntlet the crowd has
formed from the village to the crucifixion site on the edge
of Nazareth. Ahead, six Roman soldiers lead the protesting
ZEALOT. Two mounted soldiers flank the group. The Zealot's
hands are tied behind him. His clothes are torn and bloody,
his long hair and grey beard matted with blood and sweat.

ZEALOT
You're the people of Israel! God is
with us! He's judging us now! Fight!

The soldiers push him along.

MAN IN CROWD
How long do we have to wait for the
Messiah?

ANOTHER MAN
Until you die! Because he's not
coming.

WOMAN IN CROWD
He forgot about us! He doesn't want
us!

YOUNG MAN
Listen to the Zealot! God is strength.

MAN
Give us strength now!

A Roman soldier slams the Man against the wall, then shoves
the crowd back as the Zealot passes. The crowd cools down a
little.

Now the villagers heap abuse on Jesus. MARY, 56, mother of
Jesus, pushes her way through the crowd. A MAN is about to
throw a stone at Jesus. She grabs his arm, tries to pry the
stone from his fingers.

MARY (MOTHER OF JESUS)
Don't touch him. Get away from him.

She starts pushing people away in angry desperation.

WOMAN IN CROWD
You defend him.

MARY (MOTHER OF JESUS)
Yes. He's my son. He doesn't know
what he's doing.

The crowd now starts pushing Mary. She resists. A Centurion
breaks up the melee. Jesus continues on his way.

The Zealot has reached the crucifixion site: a rocky, flint
covered mound. The soldiers wait for the cross.

Children throw pebbles at Jesus as he approaches the Zealot.
The Roman guards brace themselves for violence.

Jesus sets the cross down beside the Zealot who is held by
guards.

Mary comes through the crowd, takes her son by the arm.

MARY (MOTHER OF JESUS)
Alright. Come away now.

Jesus pulls away from her. She goes after him but a guard
yanks her back into the crowd. The Centurion gathers some
pieces of parchment together as the Zealot's voice rings
out:

ZEALOT
Listen! Don't be afraid! God is
strong. Rome is smoke. God will blow
it away. Remember the Maccabees,
remember how they threw out the
Greeks! We'll throw out the Romans
the same way. There's only one God
of Hosts and he's our God!

CENTURION
(he's heard it all
before)
Finished?

Without waiting for an answer, the Centurion begins to read
the charges against the Zealot.

CENTURION
'This man naked before you now is
condemned for sedition, for lifting
his hand against Rome. Even as a boy
he pulled the Imperial Eagle from
walls. He ran to the mountains and
rallied the people to Revolution. He
promised a Messiah would come from
among the people to rise up and
destroy Rome...'

He starts paging through the parchment, his interest
wandering.

CENTURION
'...murder... betrayal' ...so on...
'looting...' and so on... 'and
therefore he is condemned to die.
Rome condemns him. All the Gods of
Rome condemn him.' And I condemn
him. Start.

The Zealot has been stripped naked and laid down on the cross-
bar. The guards prepare to drive the nails into his wrists.
A hush comes over the crowd.

The spike is placed in the Zealot's wrist. The hammer drives
it home. The Zealot's scream (almost ecstatic) is echoed by
the crowd.

Blood spurts from his wounds: a drop splatters on Jesus'
lips.

CUT TO:

INT. HOUSE - NIGHT

Close angle on Jesus, who is speaking vehemently.

JESUS
Speak softer! I can't understand!
Softer!

Silence.

JESUS
I still can't... stop... Are you
trying to make me understand, or do
you just want to hurt me?
(pause; then, as if
answering)
Well, if I don't belong here, with
men, where do I belong? Tell me! Or
do you just want to punish me?

Still silence.

Now we see the whole room, which is a small area just off
the kitchen. Jesus is alone. His Mother enters. Jesus looks
over.

MARY (MOTHER OF JESUS)
What are you hearing?

She sits near him and puts her hand over his.

JESUS
They want to know if I'm afraid.
Afraid! Of course I'm afraid!
(looking up)
Hear that? I am afraid. Is that what
you want? Alright.

MARY (MOTHER OF JESUS)
What do they want?

JESUS
They want me to speak. To go out and
speak!

MARY (MOTHER OF JESUS)
Speak about what?

JESUS
About the Kingdom of Heaven. But I
don't care about the Kingdom of
Heaven. I like earth. I like to eat,
sleep, see a woman without my head
being torn in half.

MARY (MOTHER OF JESUS)
But you can have that right now.

JESUS
No! Because anytime I try to get
what everybody else has, the pain
starts. And the voices.

MARY (MOTHER OF JESUS)
And so you make crosses!

JESUS
Yes, I make crosses! To keep him
quiet. To make God hate me! To make
him find somebody else.

MARY (MOTHER OF JESUS)
You're sure it's God? You're sure
it's not the Devil?

JESUS
I'm not sure. I'm not sure of
anything.

MARY (MOTHER OF JESUS)
If it's the devil, the devil can be
cast out.

JESUS
What if it's God? You can't cast out
God.

MARY (MOTHER OF JESUS)
But if it's God, why should he hurt
you?

JESUS
Because he loves me. And I don't
want him to love me. I want him to
hate me! I want to crucify every one
of his Messiahs.

MARY (MOTHER OF JESUS)
The more you dare God, the more you
make him angry. Maybe that's why
he's made you so unhappy here.

JESUS
Where?

MARY (MOTHER OF JESUS)
Here. With people. Maybe you shouldn't
be here.

JESUS
If I don't belong with people, who
do I belong with, God?

MARY (MOTHER OF JESUS)
I don't know. Go and ask him. Go
where God is.

CUT TO:

EXT. EDGE OF NAZARETH - DAWN

Jesus begins his journey to go where God is. He walks with a
certainty we have not seen before.

Nazareth, seen behind him, is stirring to life. Jesus' path
takes him past the crucifixion site of the day before. At
the foot of the cross are several GUARDS who are dividing up
the Zealot's clothes. One of the Guards sees Jesus and calls
to him.

GUARD
Crossmaker! Here's your share.

The Guard throws the Zealot's bloody headcloth. Jesus holds
it for a moment.

GUARD
What's the matter? Don't you want
it?

JESUS
Yes. I want it.

He puts the headcloth on.

CUT TO:

EXT. ROAD OUTSIDE NAZARETH - EARLY MORNING

Jesus strides across a grassy plain. Much of the "lake
district" of Galilee was a fertile and pleasant valley. Jesus
leans his body into the wind as he reaches a ridge.

JESUS (V.O.)
All this time I've been cursing him,
trying to make him hate me. All that
pain for something so simple, I should
have realized. He just wants me to
devote my life to him. If that's
what it takes to stop the pain, I'm
happy. Only one road leads to God.
And it comes out in the desert. God's
waiting for me in a well in the
monastery. He does love me. I'll
hide under his wings.

Jesus watches a small caravan in the distance and follows
its path.

CUT TO:

EXT. GALILEE - DAY

Jesus passes two PEASANT GIRLS reaping in an open field.
Their partially open dresses reveal their bodies. Their open
sexuality intimidates Jesus.

PEASANT GIRL
Are you going to Magela?

JESUS
No. To the monastery.

They laugh.

SECOND GIRL
Then you take the other road.

PEASANT GIRL
If you really want to.

SECOND GIRL
Why not stop and have some bread
with us?

They're teasing him a little now and he's slightly
embarrassed.

JESUS
No, thank you. I can't.

They smile as they watch him go.

CUT TO:

LATER - JESUS

Walks alone along the windy seashore.

JESUS (V.O.)
Lord, thank you for everything, for
the loneliness, the hunger, the cold.
I don't need anything else.

Hearing FOOTSTEPS, he stops abruptly. Turns and looks.

JESUS (V.O.)
Who's that? Who's following me?

Seeing nothing, Jesus starts again. The FOOTSTEPS return --
LOUDER.

JESUS (V.O.)
Is that you?

He clutches his head, collapses to his knees in pain:

JESUS (V.O.)
Magdalene! Magdalene!

CUT TO:

EXT. MAGDALA - DAY

Three camels in the forefront of a caravan kneel to the
ground. Their riders and the camels are completely covered
with sand. As the camels rest, the riders open their cloaks
revealing bright robes of red, blue and gold and exotic
jewelry.

Jesus walks past the caravan on the main plaza of Magdala,
where TOWNSPEOPLE are salting fish in a public market. The
streets are crowded with camels, donkeys, Mongols on
horseback, Afghans laden with rugs and blankets, Nubian slaves
following their Greek and Roman masters. A Berber woman
dances. She is caked with dust. As she dances, the dust flies
away, revealing her dress, her jewelry, her body.

Jesus passes a well where a woman is seated, drawing water.
Her naked breasts are painted. He tries to avoid her glance.

JESUS (V.O.)
Thank you Lord for bringing me where
I did not want to come.

He pushes his way through the crowd until he reaches the
home of Mary Magdalene. On her door, there is a painting of
two intertwined snakes, one black, one white, and above the
LINTEL, a painting of a large yellow lizard with its legs
stretched out as if crucified. A row of camels, horses and
donkeys stand outside. Jesus enters.

A young Indian nobleman with an aristocratic air, passes by
Jesus and into the courtyard, Jesus stares and follows behind
him.

JESUS (V.O.)
He must be one of God's angels. He
came down to show me the way.

CUT TO:

EXT. MARY MAGDALENE'S COURTYARD - DAY

Jesus and the nobleman take their places seated on the ground
in Magdalene's courtyard. About a dozen men wait for their
turn with Magdalene.

Besides the young Indian nobleman (with three gold bands
around his ankles), there are three Bedounin, three old men
with painted eyelashes and nails, two young men with black
beards and moustaches, and two rich black merchants. An old
lady is off to one side crouched on the ground with a small
cage containing some crabs. A small fire is beside her on
which she is cooking food. There is no door to Magdalene's
room where she does business, only a wispy half torn curtain
floating in the infrequent breeze. This affords her waiting
clients a half-darkened view of the proceedings. An Arab
makes love to her. She is nude, and good at her work.

The young Indian nobleman lowers his eyelids, begins swaying
his upper body back and forth and moves his lips as if in
prayer. Jesus and the others glance at him. One of the black
merchants pushes him with his knee and smiles.

BLACK MERCHANT
Prince of India, what does your God
have to say about all this?

INDIAN NOBLEMAN
(opening his eyes)
All what?

BLACK MERCHANT
Here, in front of you.

INDIAN NOBLEMAN
That everything is a dream.

One of the old men, using prayer beads, turns to them.

OLD MAN
Well, if it's a dream, then don't
wake us.

Jesus stares straight ahead. At that moment the Arab comes
out from Magdalene's room. All the men groan as if saying
"about time." The old man gets up and enters.

YOUNG MAN
Don't take all day, old man. There's
six more here before me.

CUT TO:

LATER - THE SUN

is waning. Three merchants wait with Jesus. Two are eating.

An Egyptian emerges from the Magdalene's house. Another man
gets up. Jesus defers to him.

CUT TO:

LATER - IT'S DARK

Jesus sits alone. The last customer closes the courtyard
door.

Jesus stands, enters Magdalene's room.

CUT TO:

INT. MAGDALENE'S ROOM - DARK - AMBERLIT - NIGHT

Mary, lies naked on a stack of blankets, covered with the
sweat of all nations. Facing the wall, she calls:

MAGDALENE
Is there anyone else?

Jesus stops in the middle of the room.

Mary turns and recognizes Jesus. She instinctively pulls
back.

MAGDALENE
What are you doing here.

JESUS
I want you to forgive me.

The Magdalene doesn't understand.

JESUS
I've done too many wrong things. I'm
going to the desert. To the monastery.
Before I go I want you to forgive
me. Please.

MAGDALENE
Oh, I see. You sit out there all day
with the others. Then you come in
there with your head bowed, saying
'Forgive me, forgive me.' Well it's
not that easy. Just because you need
forgiveness don't ask me to do it.

JESUS
Mary, I'm sorry.

MAGDALENE
I don't want your pity. I'm fine,
just fine. I don't need help from
anybody. Especially you or your God.

JESUS
God can save your soul.

MAGDALENE
I don't want him. He's already broken
my heart. Say the truth.

Mary is half in darkness. As she speaks her legs partially
open and one hand slips between them. Her other hand covers
her breasts.

MAGDALENE
You want to save my soul? This is
where you'll find it. You're the
same as the others only you can't
admit it. You lie about it. You're
pitiful. I hate you. Here's my body.
Kiss it. Save it.

Jesus, angry, lunges for her and hits her hand away very
hard. She pulls back on the couch and they stare at each
other. When Magdalene speaks again she is calmer, but even
sadder.

MAGDALENE
Is that the way you show you're a
man? You never had the courage to be
one. If you weren't hanging onto
your mother, you were hanging onto
me. Now you're hanging onto God,
going to the desert to hide because
you're scared. Well go. Whenever I
see you my heart breaks. Don't look
at me.

She stands and puts on a dress.

CUT TO:

LATER

Mary takes a casserole from the fire, pours it into a bowl
and hands it to Jesus with a barley roll. Jesus eats
ravenously.

MAGDALENE
Is that the way you eat? Without
thanking God? Don't you think you
should thank him for giving you all
this: bread, beans, whores, wine...

JESUS
Let me eat and let me go.

Mary looks at him and touches his face. As she speaks, Jesus
doesn't respond.

MAGDALENE
I remember when we were children.
When I was five and you were three.
I remember when we laid under the
tree together. I watched you. Later
I wanted you to come to me but not
before you suffered...

Magdalene is coming on to him. He is her lifetime love. No
matter what he does, she will never stop loving him.

JESUS
Stop it.

He stands and walks over to the fire.

MAGDALENE
I never felt so much tenderness toward
anyone as I felt for you then... all
I ever wanted was you... nothing
else.

JESUS
And what do you think I wanted? Do
you think I wanted this? God help
me.

MAGDALENE
To do what?

It takes him a moment to answer, but when he finally speaks
it is with some tenderness.

JESUS
To leave.

MAGDALENE
Please... stay.
(pause)
Here, it's cold. Sleep by the fire.
(she reaches for him)
Is it so bad, sharing a prostitute's
room? You'll still have your virginity
for the desert. I promise.

JESUS
I can't stay, Mary. I'm sorry.

CUT TO:

EXT. MONASTERY - NIGHT

A small desert commune huddled near the edge of a precipice.
The monastery is actually an unconnected series of low mud
huts. Jesus strides toward them. The wind blows.

VOICE
This way.

Jesus turns. And aged MASTER is revealed standing by the
huts.

Jesus joins him. The Master looks into his careworn face and
smiles serenely, then leads him inside.

CUT TO:

INT. MONASTERY - HUT - NIGHT

Jesus and the Master enter. Above the wind outside, Jesus
can hear the sounds of prayer and singing.

JESUS
Do you pray this late at night?

MASTER
It's a funeral. The Master of the
monastery died.

JESUS
I'll pray with you.

MASTER
(smiling)
No. Sleep well. You must be tired.
'First came the wings and then the
angel.' God be praised.

He leaves.

CUT TO:

INT. MONASTERY HUT - MORNING

A monk, JEROBOAM, is shaking Jesus awake.

JEROBOAM
Who are you? What are you doing here?

JESUS
I was brought here.

JEROBOAM
By who?

JESUS
An old man.

JEROBOAM
There are a lot of old men here.
What was his name? Did he say
anything?

JESUS
He didn't say his name. He just said
'First came the wings and then the
angel.' That was all he said.

Jeroboam is startled.

CUT TO:

INT. MONASTERY HUT - DAY

Another hut. A simple room with a menorah. The Master who
showed Jesus to the room lies on an open shroud on the floor,
hands folded over his chest. His naked body is partially
obscured by by mourners. One MONK kisses his closed eyes.
ANOTHER his upturned palms, OTHERS his beard and his feet.
Jesus and Jeroboam watch.

JESUS
This was the man who let me in last
night. Did he just die?

JEROBOAM
This was the Master of the monastery.
He's been dead since yesterday
morning. And you've come in his place.

CUT TO:

EXT. MONASTERY - DAY

Carrying the Master's remains, the monks move through blowing
sand. The dunes seem almost to sway like the rise and fall
of the sea.

The procession, with Jesus at the end, stops at a pit. The
monks, buffeted by the wind, roll the Master's remains into
the pit.

Jeroboam shouts a prayer over the howling wind, but we cannot
hear it.

JEROBOAM'S PRAYER:

JEROBOAM
The Master's soul has gone to heaven,
his body's work is completed. It
walked under the sun and moon, over
stone and sand, sinned, felt pain,
yearned for heaven. We commend his
remains to the earth and his soul to
our God. Flesh, the Master no longer
needs you. Melt away.

Even as he speaks, the wind leaves a fine layer of sand on
the Master's body; the face, beard, and hands sink away.

CUT TO:

EXT. MONASTERY - DAY

Later. The sandstorm is over, the air is still. Jesus and
Jeroboam walk close together. They are in the midst of
conversation.

JEROBOAM
In our period of mourning for the
Master we believe we'll feel his
presence here for forty days, advising
us, scolding us. It actually appeared
to you. And showed you the way to
his room. His own room. He treated
you like a royal visitor. He
recognized you.

JESUS
He couldn't have recognized me for
anything. I only came here to serve
God and nothing else. That's all he
wants from me, I'm sure of it.

JEROBOAM
God brought you here, didn't he?

JESUS
All he brought here is my shame.

JEROBOAM
Shame is also a temptation.

JESUS
God hunts me. He drives his nails
into my heart. He wants to push me
over.

Jesus' hand sweeps out. We follow. He is gesturing toward
the steep precipice only a few yards away.

JESUS
He wants me to speak. But he didn't
touch my lips with burning coals.
How can I speak? I sinned.

JEROBOAM
We all sin.

JESUS
Not my sins. What does He want from
me? Can't he see what's inside me?
All my sins. I'm Lucifer.

JEROBOAM
Be quiet!

JESUS
No! I'm a liar. A hypocrite. I'm
afraid of everything. I never tell
the truth. I don't have the courage.
When I see a woman, I blush and look
away. But inside I have lust. For
God, I smother the lust, and that
satisfies my pride. But my pride
destroys Magdalene. I never steal or
fight, or kill... not because I don't
want to but because I'm afraid. I
want to rebel against everything,
everybody... against God!... but I'm
afraid. If you look inside me you
see fear, that's all. Fear is my
mother, my father, my God.

JEROBOAM
The more devils we have inside of
us, the more chance we have to make
angels. 'Angel' is the name for the
devils who repent... so, you have to
have faith. Have you ever slept with
a woman?

JESUS
No...

JEROBOAM
And you don't want to?

JESUS
I do... No, I don't.

JEROBOAM
Why not?

JESUS
It's not enough for me.

JEROBOAM
Well, then what do you want?
(pause)
...Why don't you answer me?

JESUS
(smiling)
I am Saint Blasphemer, Father. So
you'd better not ask me anything
else, or I'll start my blasphemies.

JEROBOAM
Start your blasphemies. You'll be
relieved. Start.

JESUS
There's Lucifer inside of me saying,
You're not the son of the Carpenter,
you're the son of King David. You're
not a man, you're the son of man.
And further: the son of God. And
further than that: God.

Jeroboam is speechless.

JESUS
Do you want to ask me anything else?

JEROBOAM
No.

CUT TO:

INT. JESUS' HUT - NIGHT

Jesus sleeps on a woven mat.

He hears a HISSING SOUND. His eyes open, he sits up.

A snake emerges from a hole in the wall and slithers across
the earthen floor. Another snake follows it. The snakes coil
around each other and copulate.

Jesus watches, his back to the wall.

JESUS (V.O.)
Why now after all this time? Coupling.
This is why we were thrown out of
Paradise.

He looks at one of the snakes. It speaks to him in Mary
Magdalene's voice.

MAGDALENE
Jesus, I forgive you.

(fast dolly in as) Jesus grabs his chest; the snakes hiss
inside his breast.

JESUS
Leave me. Leave me alone.

Jesus breathes a sigh of relief. The snakes are gone. Jesus
looks up. Jeroboam stands in the door. Jeroboam enters and
puts his fingers to Jesus' lips.

(follow hand around and to lips 36 fps)

JESUS
They're gone.

Jeroboam nods. He has seen the snakes too.

JEROBOAM
God has just blessed you. The snakes
left. They came from you. Everything
has two meanings, one obvious, the
other hidden. Now maybe you have to
leave.

JESUS
I have to stay. That's what God wants
me to do.

JEROBOAM
I don't think you're supposed to
stay. God is already talking to you.
He must want something else.

JESUS
What else could he want from me?

JEROBOAM
He's purified you for a reason. To
be his instrument. He must want to
speak through you. Outside.

JESUS
To who?

JEROBOAM
To anyone who will listen.

JESUS
And say what?

JEROBOAM
Just open your mouth. You love
mankind?

JESUS
I see men and I feel sorry for them,
that's all.

JEROBOAM
That's enough. Go and speak to them.

CUT TO:

EXT. DESERT MONASTERY - NIGHT

(SPECIAL EFFECT) A huge full moon illuminates the group of
huts.

CUT TO:

INT. JESUS' HUT - NIGHT

Dark at first. Then, a HISSING NOISE. Jesus lights a palm-
sized lamp, listens.

Then, he cautiously peers out the opening of the hut. Then
he is pulled through.

CUT TO:

EXT. MONASTERY - HUT - NIGHT

An arm grabs Jesus from behind and throws him against the
wall.

Judas stands in front of him, panting, his dagger in his
hand.

JUDAS
I hissed and you came.

JESUS
I'm ready.

JUDAS
Ready? You think we're going to a
feast? I'm going to kill you.

JESUS
Good. I'm relieved. I'm happy to see
you. You're just in time.

Judas is startled.

JESUS
God purified me tonight. I thought
it was so I could go out and preach.
But now I see. It's so I could die.
And you're God's instrument. He
brought us together.

Jesus opens his tunic.

JESUS
Here's my neck. Cut it. Come on, cut
it. What's the matter? Is there
anything wrong? I was purified, you
got your permission, it's all arranged
by God. So what are you waiting for?

They stare at each other.

JESUS
You can't do it, can you?

JUDAS
I can if I want.

JESUS
Why don't you want?

JUDAS
I do want.

JESUS
Fine.

He positions himself for killing again. There is another
pause.

JUDAS
Did you work some magic on me? When
I go to kill a man, I kill him.

JESUS
(thinking it out)
Maybe God doesn't want me to die. If
God really wanted me to die, you
wouldn't hesitate. You'd just kill
me.

JUDAS
No, you should die. What good are
you living? Why should God want you
alive? What good are you for Israel?
Do you have some secret?

JESUS
I have no secret. I know that I have
pity, though.

JUDAS
Pity! How far will that get us? What
good is that for Israel?

JESUS
It's good for men.

JUDAS
Men! The Greeks who killed us were
men. So are the Romans. Don't pity
men, pity Israel. The rest can go to
hell.

JESUS
I feel pity for everything. Donkeys,
sparrows, grass.

JUDAS
And ants? I suppose you feel pity
for them too?

JESUS
Yes. Everything's a part of God.
When I look into the ant, into his
shiny black eye, I see the face of
God.

JUDAS
What do you see when you look in my
face?

JESUS
(matter of factly)
I see God too.

JUDAS
You see God everywhere, don't you?
Maybe that's why you don't fear death.

JESUS
Why should I fear death? Death isn't
a door that closes, it's a door that
opens. It opens and you enter.

JUDAS
(pause)
If I don't kill you, what happens?

JESUS
I don't know. Whatever God decides.
I'll speak to others. I can't think
of anything else.

JUDAS
What are you going to say?

JESUS
I'll just open my mouth and God will
do the talking.

JUDAS
See. I told you. You're not crazy at
all, are you? If God does talk through
you, then you're the messenger of
God and I can't kill a messenger of
God, can I? You've got my hand
stopped.

JESUS
I didn't stop your hand, God did.

JUDAS
He's the only one who could.

JESUS
God didn't send you to kill me. Maybe
he sent you here to follow me.

JUDAS
The one's I follow are the ones who
follow Israel.

Judas puts his knife away.

CUT TO:

EXT. GALILEE - DAY

Judas and Jesus walk across the plain toward Magdala.

CUT TO:

EXT. MAGDALA - DAY

Mary Magdalene is hurled into a shallow pit, her knees and
elbows bloody from being dragged down the street.

Jesus and Judas enter the village. They hear a commotion and
hurry toward the crowd.

The crowd, in a festive mood, hurl insults and spit at her.

JUDAS
It's Magdalene. She deserves it.

Jesus steps into the center of the pit as the crowd starts
to throw stones. One of them hits Jesus on the chest. He
looks over at the man who threw the stone. We have never
seen Jesus like this before: neither has anyone in the crowd.

Two little KIDS take one look, giggle nervously, and run
away. Judas is riveted. On the other side of the small crowd,
PHILIP, PETER, ANDREW and JOHN watch this unexpected
confrontation with fascination.

MAN IN CROWD
Get out of here. This isn't your
business. You want to get hurt?

More stones are thrown. Jesus doesn't move. Magdalene, has
grabbed his leg for reassurance.

ZEBADEE pushes his way through the crowd.

ZEBEDEE
You heard what he said, idiot. Move.

JESUS
No. I don't want this.

ZEBEDEE
Oh, listen to this. He doesn't want
this. Well, we want it.

JESUS
Why?

ZEBEDEE
(livid)
We don't have to tell you why...

Peter, in the crowd, interrupts angrily.

PETER
Bad enough we live in a whorehouse.
But does it have to be a Roman
whorehouse? Our women can't even
look in a mirror on the Sabbath, and
this one goes with Romans on the
Sabbath. She broke Moses' law. So
she dies.

Jesus picks up two stones from the ground.

JESUS
Who's never sinned? Which one of you
has never sinned? Whichever one of
you's never sinned should come up
here and throw these.

Zebedee steps forward immediately, carrying his own small
stone.

ZEBEDEE
I've got nothing to hide.

JESUS
Good. Take one of these. They're
bigger. You're not going to do much
damage with the small one.

Zebedee hesitates.

JESUS
Be careful, Zebedee. There is a God.
He's seen you cheat your workers.
He's seen you with that widow, what's
her name...

WOMAN IN THE CROWD
Judith!

JESUS
...Judith. Aren't you afraid God
will paralyze you if your lift that
stone? That your hand will wither
and hang at your side?

Zebedee drops the rock and moves back. Several MEN start
toward Jesus, but Judas steps between them, braced for action.
They stop.

Jesus helps Mary to her feet. Judas calls to the crowd:

JUDAS
Follow us, follow the Rabbi. He wants
to talk to you.

Judas, Jesus and Magdalene walk away from the pit. A large
segment of the crowd follows.

WOMAN IN CROWD
Who is he?

MAN
It's Jesus. From Nazareth.

SECOND MAN
Nothing good can come out of Nazareth.
Even the scriptures say it.

They start back, away from the crowd, toward the town.

CUT TO:

EXT. HILLSIDE IN MAGDALA - DAY

The nearby summit of the hill which was the site of some
ancient pagan temple, probably Mesopotamian. Fragments of
several carved capitals of columns lay on the ground along
with pieces of pagan Gods (winged lions with women's heads,
etc.).

Magdalene sits near Jesus' feet; Judas stands in the
background. The crowd waits to hear what Jesus has to say.
Jesus looks out over the poverty-stricken villagers, the
peaceful country-side:

JESUS (V.O.)
This is what I've always been afraid
of. There's so much to say. God has
so many miracles.

A pause. The words start to come.

JESUS
Come closer everybody. My brothers.
My sisters. I'm calling you that
because we're all a family. A little
closer. My voice isn't very strong,
and I've got something to tell you.

The crowd gets closer, still more curious than anything else.

JESUS
I'm sorry if I have to tell you
stories. But is seems to be the only
way I can tell you what I have to.
(pause)
A farmer was planting in his field.
Some seed fell on the ground and the
birds ate it. Some seed fell on rocks
and dried up. But some seed fell on
rich soil, grew into wheat and fed a
lot of people.

Long silence. No one has any idea what the hell he's talking
about.

JESUS
Didn't you hear me? Are you people
deaf?

ZEBEDEE
(indignant)
We can hear fine. It's not us. Can't
you be more... clear.

Jesus thinks for a moment. He is also hiding annoyance.

JESUS
I'm the farmer. The farmer's me.

ZEBEDEE
Wait a minute. I get it. Don't tell
me. We must be the stones. We're the
ground, is that it? That's just fine.
And two and two makes four.
(to crowd:)
Another lunatic.

JOHN, Zebedee's youngest son, who has an air of perpetual
abstraction, leaves his father and approaches Jesus.

JOHN
Rabbi, tell me. If you're the farmer
and we're the stones, what is the
seed?

Jesus is baffled.

JOHN
What's the seed?

JESUS
(surprised)
Love one another. Love one another!

This is too much for the crowd to take.

ANDREW
Alright, let's say we accept that.
Maybe that's even good advice. But
for some other world. Not here. we're
starving. Feed us first, then talk.

While the crowd makes noise, Judas steps near to Jesus and
talks to him so the others can't hear.

JUDAS
What are you talking about, love?
This is your message? We should all
love the Romans? That's like putting
our neck on the knife.

Jesus takes a step forward, going with the momentum of his
strong feelings.

JESUS
Listen, I used to think God was angry
too. But not any more. He used to
jump on me like a wild bird and dig
his claws into my head. But then one
morning he came to me. He blew over
me like a cool breeze and said 'Stand
up.' And here I am.

ZEBEDEE
Go to hell!

MAN IN CROWD
These are all stories for children.
They can't help us.

Jesus starts into the crowd, confronting them directly.

JESUS
What are you hungry for? And you,
you're thirsty. What are you thirsty
for? For justice. Justice.

ANDREW
And bread.

JESUS
Bread too, bread too. I'm telling
you, whoever's hungry for justice,
whoever's thirsty for justice...
they're the one's who'll be blessed.
They'll be filled with bread. They'll
never be thirsty again.

Jesus works his way through the crowd, really winning them
over. He points at somebody else.

JESUS
And you. You're in mourning. But
mourners will be blessed. You'll
have God's comfort, you won't need
it from men.

Now he addresses the crowd at large.

JESUS
And the meek... they're the ones
who'll be blessed. And the
suffering... they'll be blessed too.
and the merciful, and the peacemakers.
And the poor, and the sick, and the
outcasts... you will all be blessed.
Because Heaven is yours.

Now the crowd is really with him.

JESUS
But believe me. The ones who are
laughing now...

He indicates a couple of skeptics in the crowd.

JESUS
...will be crying later. The ones
who are fed now will be hungry soon.
And the rich... will be poor forever.

The crowd, agitated and excited, starts to run off.

FIRST VOICE
Let's kill the rich!

SECOND VOICE
Why bother with the rich? Kill the
Romans.

JESUS
(protests)
I didn't say death. I said love! I
said love!

ZEBEDEE
(motions to his son)
Let's go.

JOHN
No. Go on without me.

JAMES looks as if he wants to stay too, but Zebedee pulls
him by the arm and stalks off. John and Andrew stay behind
with Peter, Philip and Judas.

Mary Magdalene stands next to Jesus now.

MAGDALENE
Rabbi. I can help. Let me go with
you.

JESUS
(interrupts)
No. Stay here. Tell people about me.
Show them how to live.

He kneels and wipes her bloody feet with his tunic.

CUT TO:

EXT. SEA OF GENNASARET - DAY

Another day. Jesus leads his little band along the seashore:
Peter, John, and Andrew walk with Jesus; Judas and Philip
follow. Two peasant women, a street urchin and a couple of
dogs bring up the rear. They approach Zebedee, who works
with James, Nathaniel and two other fishermen.

ZEBEDEE
(to John)
Where have you been? We've been
working all morning.

John steps over to his brother James and starts pulling him
away.

JOHN
What are you doing this for, after
what we heard. Come with us.

Zebedee grabs James' other arm.

ZEBEDEE
What do you think you're doing?

He swats both John and James on the ear. The other disciples
laugh.

JUDAS
(laughing)
Watch it, Zebedee, you'll lose another
son.

JESUS
Zebedee, do you really need them?
You can hire other men. They won't
be your sons, so you'll have to pay
them...

ZEBEDEE
Pay them! I can't afford to pay them.
I can't afford to pay anybody. Look,
my nets have been empty for weeks.

JESUS
Look at them now.

The nets are teeming with fish.

ZEBEDEE
How'd you do that?

JESUS
Maybe the current changed.
(pause)
Zebedee, let your sons come with me.
They can fish for men.

CUT TO:

EXT. SEA OF GENNASARET - AFTERNOON

Later the same day. Jesus and the disciples, now with James
among them, walk past a stand of tall reeds.

CUT TO:

EXT. GALILEE - NIGHT

The disciples sleep in an olive grove. Jesus, awake, sits on
a nearby knoll, looking into the night.

Judas walks over and sits next to him:

JUDAS
Rabbi, can I talk to you?

He sits next to him.

JUDAS
I'm not like these other men. I mean,
they're good enough. But they're
weak. How are they going to fight
for you? They couldn't even fight
for themselves. Where'd you find
them? One's worse than the other.
This is no army.

JESUS
I don't need soldiers.

JUDAS
You wanted me. And if I love somebody,
I'd die for them. If I hate somebody,
I'll kill them. I can even kill
somebody I love if he does the wrong
thing. Do you understand?

JESUS
I understand.

JUDAS
The other day when you said turn the
other cheek to the man that hit you,
I didn't like that. Only an angel
could do that, only an angel or a
dog. I'm a free man. I don't turn my
cheek to anyone. You do need soldiers.

JESUS
Will soldiers make me free?

JUDAS
You want freedom for Israel?

JESUS
I want freedom for the soul.

JUDAS
First you free the body, then the
soul. You know that. The Romans come
first.

JESUS
The soul is first. If you don't change
what the soul needs, you'll only
replace Roman domination with another
domination and nothing'll ever change.
First you have to change man inside.
Then man can change what's around
him. It's wanting wealth and power
that makes the soul want to dominate
others. That's the wanting we have
to change, we have to free the soul
first. With love.

JUDAS
We all want that eventually. But
right now the only way is to start
from the bottom. You build a house
from the foundation up...
(he turns)
Who's there?

Andrew, sleepy-eyed, walks over, concerned:

ANDREW
It's me, Andrew. Is everything...

JESUS
(interrupting)
Go back to sleep. Judas and I are
talking.

Andrew turns and leaves. Judas waits, then speaks.

JUDAS
I still don't know who you are.

JESUS
Neither do I.

JUDAS
You can't look to the others for
answers. All they can do is follow
you. It's between you and me. When I
went to kill you in the monastery,
God took my strength away. That's
what made me think, even if I didn't
want to... that's what made me think
you might be the one. The Messiah.
Maybe you are, maybe you aren't,
maybe you don't even know yourself
if you are. That's why I said to
myself, be patient for once in your
life. See what he does, see what he
says, and if he's not the Messiah
there's plenty of time to kill him.

JESUS
How can I be the Messiah? First of
all I wanted to kill those people
when I saw them torturing Magdalene.
Then when I opened my mouth, out
came the word 'love.' Why? How can
we tell?

JUDAS
Alright. You say God talks through
you and right now I believe you.
There's another one he talks through.

JESUS
The Baptist.

JUDAS
We'll go to see him. He stands out
there every day preaching 'He is
coming, he is coming.' As soon as he
sees you he'll know who you are.
He'll know if you're the one.

JESUS
I'm afraid, Judas. Stay here.

Judas spreads his blanket on the ground.

CUT TO:

EXT. GALILEE - NIGHT

Later that night. Judas and Jesus are asleep in each other's
arms. Then Jesus appears to wake. On the ground in front of
him is an apple. He reaches for it, takes a bite, extracts
some seeds and the core. He scatters them on the ground. He
watches where they fall.

And now we see: a tree has grown, ripe red apples hanging
from its every branch.

CUT TO:

EXT. RIVER OF JORDAN - DAY

Jesus and his followers reach the edge of the Dead Sea.
Andrew, a disciple of the Baptist, points ahead.

ANDREW
Up ahead. The water forms a pool in
the caves. I'll show you.

JESUS
You're tired. Stay here.

ANDREW
No, I'd better come. It could be
dangerous.

JESUS
NO. I want to go alone.

Jesus walks through the burning heat toward the caves. Judas,
following behind, runs to catch up.

JUDAS
What about me! I'm supposed to be
with you.

JESUS
Come on.

They walk down a slope. Jesus in front. Judas behind. John
the Baptist's voice echoes in the distance.

Offscreen Voice:

THE BAPTIST (O.S.)
'Behold, I will raise up evil against
you out of your own house, and I
will take your wives before your
eyes, and give them to your neighbor,
and he shall lie with your wives in
the sight of this sun.'

(2 SAMUEL XII, 11)

They push their way through a mixture of lower class
Israelites, Ethiopians (painted nails, eyelashes, etc.),
Chaldeans (brass rings in their noses, etc.) Some who have
been or are about to be Baptized are naked.

CUT TO:

EXT./INT. BAPTIST'S CAVE - DAY

Jesus and Judas approach. They enter a small cave like an
antechamber in which the light has a slight greenish tint.

In the larger cave, the BAPTIST is preaching. Jesus gasps
when he first sees him: a wild man, unkempt, unwashed, (hair
like a Rastafarian). He shouts in the wind:

THE BAPTIST
"Roll on the ground, bite the dust,
howl! The Lord of Hosts says: 'On
this day I will command the sun to
set at noon; I will crush the horns
of the new moon and spill darkness
over the earth. I will reverse your
laughter, turn it into tears, and
your songs I will turn into
lamentations. I will blow and all
your finery -- hands, feet, noses,
ears, hairs -- will fall to the
ground.'"

He's awesome. Even Judas is taken back. He grabs Jesus:

JUDAS
God. He sounds like the Messiah.

JESUS
No, the Messiah won't have an ax in
his hand.

Judas pushes Jesus forward.

JUDAS
We'll see. Go in front. Let him see
you.

Jesus walks slowly toward the Baptist, his eyes fixed on the
prophet. The crowd flails and shouts; one half-naked woman
slashes herself with sharp stones (throws herself on the
ground, etc.).

JESUS (V.O.)
Even from behind, I knew I had seen
him before. Where? When? Was it a
dream? Yes, it was. But in the dream
he was all dressed in white.

Jesus steps behind the Baptist. John suddenly turns at him.

THE BAPTIST
Who are you?

JESUS
(his voice anxious)
Do you recognize me?

THE BAPTIST
Who are you?

JESUS
Have you read Isaiah? Do you know
the prophets? What does Isaiah say?

THE BAPTIST
He says, "Prepare the way of the
Lord." Are you telling me that's
you?

JESUS
I don't know.
(demanding)
Tell me.

The Baptist looks around: the crowd wails in SILENT MOTION.
A sudden calmness. We see them from Judas' P.O.V. Judas
strains to hear but can't. The Baptist knows Jesus.

THE BAPTIST
Why are you here?

JESUS
To be baptized.

THE BAPTIST
I don't dare. If you are the Master,
you should baptize me.

JESUS
Baptize me.

Jesus kneels at John's feet, throws off his robe (his
nakedness partially hidden by people in the foreground).
Judas looks on.

CUT TO:

EXT. RIVER OF JORDAN - NIGHT

Jesus and the Baptist sit in the cave by a fire built near
the baptismal pool. An eerie blue-green light falls on the
walls of the cave; their faces are reflected in the pool
water. A group of pilgrims camp in the back of the cave.
Music is heard.

Jesus and the Baptist are weary from hours of debate.

JESUS
Isn't love enough?

THE BAPTIST
No. The tree is rotten. You have to
take the ax and cut it down.

JESUS
If I was a woodcutter, I'd cut. If I
was fire, I'd burn. But I'm a heart
and I love.

THE BAPTIST
I'm a heart also but I can't love
what's unjust. I can't love evil.
What I can't love I attack. God
demands it. God demands anger.

JESUS
Anger? Aren't we all brothers?

THE BAPTIST
You think love is God's only way? Go
to the Dead Sea. Look in the bottom,
you'll see the two whores, Sodom and
Gomorrah. God was angry. He threw
fire at them, turned over the dry
land and the sea swallowed them up.
That's God's way. 'On the day of the
Lord, blood will flow from wood, the
stones of the houses will come alive
and kill their owners!' That day is
here. He gave me the ax, now I give
it to you.

Jesus, frightened, turns away:

JESUS
That's not the answer.

THE BAPTIST
(aggravated)
No? Then what is the answer?

JESUS
I don't know. I think it's love.

THE BAPTIST
Well I know. And if you won't listen
to me who will you listen to? To
God? The God of Israel's a god of
the desert. If you want to speak to
him, then you go to the desert.

JESUS
(a beat)
I'll go to Idumaea.

THE BAPTIST
But be careful. The desert's full of
sweet voices and death.

The Baptist walks over to Jesus.

JESUS
Thank you Baptist.

John kisses Jesus on the mouth.

JESUS (V.O.)
His tongue felt like a burning coal
in my mouth.

Judas watches from a hole in the ceiling of the cave. From
his P.O.V. he can't hear anything.

Jesus walks away, not looking back.

CUT TO:

EXT. IDUMAEA DESERT - SUNSET

Jesus runs across the desert as if pursued. He stops, pants,
continues. The earth underneath is cracked. The whole
landscape shimmers with heat under a huge white sun. (SPECIAL
EFFECT). The image is tinted warm red.

CUT TO:

EXT. DESERT - NEXT DAY

Jesus wanders through the wild, uninhabited terrain. The
sun, like a blast furnace, blows sand into his face.

He starts to draw a large circle.

JESUS (V.O.)
I'm not going to leave this circle.
I won't leave until you talk to me.
No hums. No thunder. No headaches.
Just talk to me in human words.
Whatever path you want, I'll take.
Love or the ax or anything else. Or
if you want me to stay here and die
I'll do that too. But you have to
tell me.

He sits in the center of the circle.

He sees: the sun, looming huge in the sky, seeming to be
unnaturally close to him. (SPECIAL EFFECT).

He sees: in the far distance, birds flying across a great
plain.

He sees: on the flat desert, the plain of Sodom, a herd of
gazelles.

He continues to watch as we...

FADE OUT:

EXT. DESERT - NIGHT

FADE IN. Days have past. The hunger and deprivation are
beginning to show on Jesus' face. His clothes are the color
of soil.

JESUS
I don't want... I don't want to be
alone.

He puts his head down, but hears sounds and looks into the
moonlit night. SOUNDS: of water; bracelets; laughing. Then a
large SERPENT coils at the edge of the circle, speaking in a
half-human, half-animal voice.

SERPENT
I felt sorry for you. You were lonely.
You cried, so I came.

JESUS
I didn't call you. Who are you?

SERPENT
Your soul.

JESUS
My soul.

SERPENT
You're afraid of being alone. Just
like Adam. He called me and I reached
into his ribs and gave him a wife.

JESUS
You're here to trick me.

SERPENT
Trick you? To love and care for a
woman? To have a family -- this is a
trick? Why are you trying to save
the world? Aren't your own sins enough
for you? What arrogance to think
it's your duty to save the world.
The world doesn't have to be saved.
Find love.

JESUS
I have love.

SERPENT
Look into my eyes, look at my
breasts...

The Serpent's voice dissolves into the soft, comforting voice
of Mary Magdalene.

SERPENT
...Do you recognize them? Say the
word. Nod your head and we'll be in
my bed together.

Jesus looks up, eyes glaring.

SERPENT
(compassionately)
Oh, Jesus.

The Serpent suddenly explodes, leaving no trace. Jesus places
his head between his legs and begins to sob, as if he has
lost a loved one.

CUT TO:

EXT. DESERT - NIGHT

FADE IN. Another week has passed. Jesus' clothes are torn
and tattered by the desert winds. He awakens.

JESUS (V.O.)
After ten days the hunger went away.

He hears a sound. A LION stands at the edge of the circle.

LION
Welcome, Jesus. Congratulations.
You've overcome the small temptations
of a woman, a family. We're both
bigger than that. A woman's not
enough, we need the whole world.

JESUS
Who are you?

LION
I'm you. I'm your heart. Your heart
is so hungry. It pretends to be humble
but it secretly wants to conquer the
world. I will set my four feet down,
one in Babylon, one in Jerusalem,
one in Alexandria, the last in Rome.

JESUS
I've never wanted a kingdom on earth.
The Kingdom of Heaven's good enough
for me.

The Lion's voice transforms into Judas':

LION
You're a liar. You've always wanted
power. When you were making crosses
for the Romans in Nazareth, your
head was exploding with dreams of
power. You said it was God, but you
really wanted to rule others. Now
you will. Any country you want. All
countries. You will rule Babylon.
You will rule Jerusalem. You will
rule Alexandria. You will even rule
Rome.

Jesus, shaking, reaches out toward the Lion.

JESUS
Liar! Step into my circle so I can
pull out your tongue.

The Lion steps into the circle, and, as he does, disappears.

FADE OUT:

EXT. DESERT - NIGHT

FADE IN. Jesus lies sleeping. Another week has past. He's a
wasted skeleton.

An ARCHANGEL stands at the circle's edge. The Angel appears
as a normal ten-year-old boy speaking in the voice of a young
girl. Jesus strains to see through his swollen eyelids:

JESUS
Archangel... go farther back. You're
blinding me.

ARCHANGEL
I'm the one you've been waiting for.
Remember when you were a child, you
cried, 'Make me a God. God, make me
a God.'

JESUS
But I was just a child then.

ARCHANGEL
Adonai. You are God. The Baptist
knew it. It's time you admit it. I
salute you, Son, only Son of God.
Join me in power. We will rule
together over the living and the
dead. You'll give life and take life.
You'll sit on the throne and I'll
sit at your hand. Imagine how strong
we could be together.

Jesus suddenly realizes who he's talking to:

JESUS
Satan!

The ripe tree from Jesus' dream appears behind the Archangel.
The Angel offers an apple.

Jesus bites into the apple: it turns into blood in his mouth.
The blood splashes down his chest.

ANGEL
(smiling)
We'll see each other again.

The Archangel turns and leaves. Jesus picks up a stick at
his feet. The stick is an ax.

We see from over Jesus' shoulder. John the Baptist crouches
down into the frame, puts his hand on Jesus' shoulder and
speaks:

THE BAPTIST
Don't be afraid. You are the One. I
was the one who came before you. My
work is finished. Now I can die. The
Lord wants me to tell you to stand
up, his day is here. Take the ax.
Run and carry the message to men.

Jesus rises and strikes at the root of the tree with an ax.
Entire scene turns red.

CUT TO:

INT. MARY AND MARTHA'S - DAY

MARY and MARTHA, sisters in their early thirties, are working
in their house. Mary sits at a weaving loom; Martha near the
fire.

The door opens. An emaciated figure in tattered clothes stands
silhouetted in the doorway. The sisters turn, aghast.

JESUS
I'm a foreigner. From Galilee. I
need rest. The door was open. Excuse
me... I...

MARY
We're alone. Our brother Lazarus is
out.

MARTHA
What difference does that make? Come
in. Don't listen to her. She's afraid
of her own shadow. I'm Martha and
this is my sister, Mary. There's not
much here, but you're welcome to it.
Who are you?

JESUS
Jesus of Nazareth.

MARTHA
(laughing, teasing)
A good man?

JESUS
Yes, good.

Jesus staggers over to the hearth.

JESUS
(smiles as he sits)
...I do my best.

CUT TO:

INT. MARY AND MARTHA'S - NIGHT

Jesus, washed and wearing a new tunic, eats bread and olives.
Martha hands him a wine flask. Sitting by the fire, they
almost look like a family. Jesus raises his pot of wine in a
toast.

JESUS
Martha. Mary. I swear to you if
there's another flood and if it's up
to me to invite you into the ark,
I'd do it. You'd both be on it.
Because tonight a stranger came to
your door. You fed him, dressed him,
made him comfortable, spoke kindly
to him, and the Kingdom of Heaven
came down and went in his heart.

They drink. Mary and Martha look at Jesus flirtatiously.

MARY
Go on.

JESUS
(eating)
What should I say? Silence is good,
It says everything.

MARY
It doesn't say everything to me. A
kind word now and then helps.

MARTHA
Do you have a wife?

JESUS
(thinks)
No.

MARY
If you only knew what goes through a
woman's mind when she weaves. You'd
pity her, Jesus.

JESUS
I do know. I was once a woman, in
another life, and I used to weave.

MARY
And what did you think about?

JESUS
God. And you?

MARTHA
God. But we think about men more.

MARY
God is a man after all. And men can
be husbands.

Jesus smiles, but deliberately chooses not to pursue this
subject. There is a brief silence.

JESUS
You know the Baptist? He died, didn't
he?

MARY
He was killed... by Herod. You didn't
know?

JESUS
No... I knew.

MARTHA
They say the King was drunk and cut
off his head to satisfy a little
girl... It happened in his palace in
Jerusalem.

MARY
No, at his palace in Tiberias.

JESUS
(not listening)
Jerusalem.

MARTHA
Is that where you're going, to
Jerusalem?

MARY
I envy you.

JESUS
Not now. Eventually.

CUT TO:

INT. ROMAN CAVES - NIGHT

The disciples sit around a pool of water and two small fires.
Other fires and groups of people are scattered around and
behind them throughout the cave. One group plays music. The
cave walls are washed in blue-green light; a brilliant streak
of violent red cuts across the rock of the back wall.

JAMES
Now they say they're going to kill
everyone who was baptized.

PHILIP
Nobody told you to get baptized.

PETER
You were baptized too. You begged
for it. So be quiet.

JAMES
I can just imagine Galilee right
now. The sea... I hear the fishing
is so good that you just touch the
nets and the fish jump in.

NATHANIEL
Don't talk about fish. It reminds me
of my sheep. I don't know what's
happened to them.

PETER
Maybe we should wait for him in
Galilee.

JAMES
We promised the Master we'd wait
here for him.

NATHANIEL
That was a month ago. He talks to
the Baptist, then disappears.

JOHN
Brothers. I don't understand you.
Think of the last words the Baptist
said. He said 'Jesus of Nazareth,
leave the desert. I am finished.
Return to mankind!'

PHILIP
How do you know the Baptist really
said that?

JOHN
(insisting)
Everybody says he did. But even if
he didn't say it, those words are
important because people believe
them. I don't want to blaspheme, but
what if our Master... what if he's
the one?

JAMES
What one?

JOHN
The one.

There is silence.

PHILIP
But we don't know if the Baptist
really said that. I mean, what if...

They argue.

JUDAS
(interrupting)
We're waiting here!

PETER
I don't know now.
(pause)
I don't think we should go to Galilee.
We should wait here, maybe.

JUDAS
(to Peter, sarcastic)
Changed your mind when you heard
what John said, uh? 'The one?' That's
what I like about you Peter, nobody
can change your mind. Not you. What
good are you?!

The apostles in front of Judas suddenly look past him. Judas
turns and stands up.

John sinks to his knees.

JOHN
Master.

Reverse angle shows Jesus standing before them.

PETER
Rabbi. John heard your foot-steps in
his heart... in a way... and we were
just preparing to welcome you.

JESUS
Were you baptized?

PETER
Yes.

JESUS
John baptized with water and they
killed him. Now I'll baptize with
fire.

JUDAS
Is that what the Baptist told you?

JESUS
I have an invitation for you.

Momentary silence.

PETER
Is there a celebration?

JESUS
No, I'm not inviting you to a
celebration. I'm inviting you to a
war.

Jesus is standing at the edge of the pool. He reaches into
his chest and rips out his own heart. He offers it at arm's
length to the disciples. Blood drips from the ventricles.

JESUS
This is my heart. Take it. I lead
the way to the Kingdom of God. The
Kingdom of God's inside us. It's the
Devil's kingdom that's outside, all
around us. We'll turn an ax against
the Devil's kingdom, against the
world. If you have sheep, give them
away. If you have nets, let them
rot. If you have a family, children,
leave them behind.

CAMERA tilts down following drops of heart blood which are
dripping into the pool. The water begins to glow red.

Jesus now stands before them no longer holding his heart,
but the ax the Baptist gave him in the desert.

JESUS
I once believed in love, now I carry
this. Who's with me?

Judas falls to his knees in the water and kisses Jesus' feet.

JUDAS
Adonai!

CUT TO:

EXT. SAMARIA - DAY

Jesus and his followers (they have grown in number) walk
through the Samarian lowlands.

The group advances with determination and purpose. Judas
walks at Jesus' right; Peter at his left. Women and children
follow them.

They come upon pits dug into the ground. The soil is colored
a strong green. Suddenly, bare arms come up out of some of
the pits. Heads pop up from others. Then, seven deranged men
and women, their naked bodies colored green from the soil,
crawl out of the pits and run toward Jesus. They flail at
him, some fall at his feet. Some beg in jibberish.

Judas and Peter try to ward them off. Jesus is angry -- not
at the men, but at the evil spirits that possess them.

He slaps one man, kicks another: he grabs one by the head
and pushes on him causing him to fall:

JESUS
Satan! Leave them! Get out!

Judas and Peter hold Jesus as he touches each of the insane
people. They are in the thick of what looks like a brawl. At
one point, Jesus almost faints but is carried forward by the
two apostles. Jesus shouts as he touches the possessed. After
they have been confronted by Jesus, they grow suddenly calm.
Some are confused, some praise Jesus. Jesus is held by the
apostles, partially for protection and partially for strength.

CUT TO:

EXT. ANOTHER SAMARIA COUNTRYSIDE - DAY

A BLINDMAN, led by his BROTHER and SISTER, approach Jesus
and the disciples. His reputation has spread through the
countryside.

Jesus stops. He takes ground herbal powder from his sleeve
and mixes it with sand. He spits into the mixture, then
applies it to the Blind Man's eyes.

JESUS
Moses, Elijah, Isaiah -- touch my
mouth, touch my lips.

Jesus kisses the man's mud-caked eyes. The clay falls from
the Blind Man's eyes. His gruesomely deformed eyes are now
normal: he can see.

JESUS
Go to the temple. Let the high priests
see you.

CUT TO:

EXT CANA - DAY

On a small hillside. A group of children, at the right of
the frame, sees Jesus and the disciples approaching to the
left along a path below. They giggle and run away to announce
Jesus' arrival. A couple wave at him as they go.

CUT TO:

EXT. CANA - NIGHT

Six virgins, carrying lit lamps, sing a psalm at the wedding
of Nathaniel's cousin. It's a festive, happy occasion.

Jesus exchanges small talk with a group waiting for the
ceremony to begin. Everyone is in high spirits.

Mary Magdalene steps next to Jesus. She looks like a changed
woman: simply dressed, radiant.

Jesus smiles and takes her hand. An OLD MAN says to Mary:

OLD MAN
You don't belong at a wedding. We're
here to celebrate purity.

JESUS
Listen to me. What do you think the
Kingdom of Heaven's like? It's like
a wedding. God's the Bridegroom and
Man's soul is the Bride. The wedding
takes place in Heaven and everyone's
invited.
(points to Mary)
God's Kingdom is large enough for
everybody.

OLD MAN
Nazarene, that's against the law.

JESUS
The Law is against my heart.

CUT TO:

LATER

The ceremony is over. People are dancing. Jesus, the disciples
and the guests are laughing, drinking and swapping stories.
(MS SEE PG. 219 BOOK) Jesus' hand rests on Magdalene's
shoulder. The wine has loosened everyone's spirits. Nathaniel
is nearby frantically talking with his wife and two other
family members.

JAMES
Nathaniel, what's wrong.

NATHANIEL
(walks over, mortified)
I didn't buy enough wine. More people
came and stayed late and now we've
run out.

Jesus points to several large vats:

JESUS
What's in those?

NATHANIEL
Water.

JESUS
No. It's wine.

NATHANIEL
No, no. It's water.

JESUS
Go over there and make sure. It's
wine, I'm telling you.

Nathaniel, still unconvinced, goes over to a vat and tastes.

NATHANIEL
You're right. It is wine.

JAMES
(as a joke)
It's another miracle.

CUT TO:

LATER

Jesus, a little drunk and very happy, dances with men and
women. Magdalene watches him, a mixture of reverence and
longing on her face.

CUT TO:

EXT. NAZARETH - DAY

Sabbath. The faithful, fresh from synagogue, mill about under
the date palms in the manner of churchmen over the centuries.

These are not common people. On the contrary, they represent
the Jewish hierarchy: the severely moral Pharisess, Saducees,
in collusion with the Romans; and the landowners and
shopkeepers who supported the synagogue.

Jesus calls out:

JESUS
Brothers! Sisters! My old friends!
Listen to me! Listen to me.

THe churchmen, curious, gather around.

JESUS
(continuing)
The prophet was talking about me.
God talked to me in the desert. He
gave me a great secret and told me
to bring it to you -- didn't you
hear me coming? I ran here first --
to Nazareth -- where I grew up -- to
give you the news. The Lord's Kingdom
is here.

VILLAGER #1
(taunting)
You do miracles. Do a miracle for
us, make us believe in you. Otherwise,
go away!

JESUS
(impassioned)
The Messiah doesn't need miracles.
He is the miracle. The Day of the
Lord is here. Are you ready? I've
come to tear down the world around
you. The old world will be replaced
by the new world. The Kingdom of
Heaven! The Kingdom of God! So call
the poor and give them your food.
What do you care about your
possessions? Your gold and silver
will rust and their rust will eat
your flesh like fire. Flood and fire
will come down, and the new Ark will
float above the flames. I hold the
keys and I open the Ark and I select.
My brothers of Nazareth, you're the
first I invite. Come and enter.

The villagers boo and laugh. Some children put stones in
their hands.

VILLAGER #1
A boat. We're in the desert and he
tells us about a boat.

VILLAGER #2
Aren't you the son of Mary? Right?
Who are you to tell us about God.

VILLAGER #3
You made better crosses than speeches.
(to companion as he
walks away)
Go get somebody from his family.
This is embarrassing.

JESUS
What are you laughing at? Everything
you have will burn!! Soon! Leave
your homes! Come with me to Jerusalem!

VILLAGER #2
This is what happens when a man
doesn't marry. The semen backs up
into his brain.

Someone throws a stone; it grazes Jesus' head, drawing blood.

VILLAGER #4
Go home! You're full of devils.

JESUS
(wiping blood from
his brow)
This is my home!

Peter and Judas rush to Jesus' defense. Judas puts his hand
to his dagger.

VILLAGER #2
Kill him!

He throws another rock.

PETER
What are you doing that for? That's
a shame.

VILLAGER #2
He's a sorcerer. He's calling the
fire to come down on us!

POOR VILLAGER
Don't touch him! God's Kingdom is
for the poor. It's our Kingdom!

The rich and poor scuffle. Judas, Jesus, Peter and the others,
all disgusted, break free from the brawl. Jesus looks back,
confused and angry.

JESUS
(yelling back at crowd)
If I could touch every stone, breathe
on every twig, they would rise up
and join me! Come with me! Jerusalem
is falling. I can feel it!

CUT TO:

EXT. OUTSIDE NAZARETH - DAY

Jesus and his followers head across the plain toward Samaria.
He turns to Judas who walks at his side:

JESUS
See these misfits. They're crippled,
they're blind, they're poor. That's
our army. They shout and the Old
Jerusalem will fall.

JUDAS
We'll need more men than this.

JESUS
God will provide them. We're going
to build a New Jerusalem.

Mary comes out of the crowd near him and grabs Jesus' arm.

MARY (MOTHER OF JESUS)
Son. Please. Come back with me.

JESUS
Who are you woman?

MARY (MOTHER OF JESUS)
You know who I am. Don't you recognize
me? I'm your mother.

JESUS
I have no mother. I have no family.
Only my father who's in heaven. Get
away from me.

He shakes off her arm. She trips, Jesus keeps walking,
followed by the disciples. Peter and a WOMAN help Mary to
her feet. Peter walks on as Mary and the woman turn back to
town.

WOMAN
Mary... why are you crying? Didn't
you see them?

MARY (MOTHER OF JESUS)
See what?

WOMAN
When he spoke to you, thousands of
blue wings, behind him, I swear to
you Mary, there were armies of angels.

MARY (MOTHER OF JESUS)
I didn't see anything. What good are
angels to me? I wanted children and
grand-children behind him, not angels.

CUT TO:

EXT. ALONG THE JORDAN RIVER - DAY

Jesus and his ragtag "army" continue their southward march.

Martha and Mary, dressed in black, approach Jesus.

MARTHA
Rabbi, forgive us. Our brother Lazarus
is very sick.

MARY
We heard you've healed the sick,
made cripples walk, that you preformed
miracles...

JESUS
(interrupts)
Take me to him.

CUT TO:

LAZARUS' TOMB - SUNSET

Jesus, Mary, Martha and the disciples stand before the tomb,
which is sealed by a large boulder. There is a small crowd
of mourners nearby.

JESUS
When was he buried?

BETHANY WOMAN
Three days ago.

JESUS
Roll the stone away.

Judas and Peter elicit the help of two others and lean their
shoulders to it.

JESUS (V.O.)
What can I do? How much can I do?

The stone moves: a hideous stench gusts from the tomb. Some
disciples turn their faces: others put handkerchiefs to their
noses.

Jesus stands at the entrance of the tomb and yells. His voice
echoes: a wild, strange cry, like something from another
world.

JESUS
Lazarus! In the name of the prophets,
in the name of Jeremiah and my Father,
in the name of most Holy God, I demand
that you rise and come out!

At first, nothing. Then we begin to hear a soft rustling
inside the tomb. Jesus is apprehensive. He stares at the
tomb's entrance. Suddenly a decomposed skeletal human hand
reaches out. The crowd gasps. Jesus, startled, jumps. Slowly,
Jesus reaches out, moves a bit closer and clasps the corpses'
hand. He is terrified. Suddenly, the corpse pulls back as if
to yank Jesus into the tomb. Jesus is more frightened. He
stands his ground. Then, Jesus decides to pull and the corpse
comes out. The disciples and the crowd are stunned. The
desicated figure, Lazarus, is covered head to toe in white
burial cloth. His free hand slowly unwraps the cloth from
his face. Strips of rotting flesh hang loose. Lazarus embraces
Jesus.

LAZARUS
Adonai.

Jesus is shocked by his own miracle.

JESUS (V.O.)
Is the power of God so strong? If it
can raise the dead, can it also move
mountains? Can it destroy Rome? Tear
the world in half? God help me.

Jesus embraces Lazarus.

CUT TO:

EXT. TEMPLE AT JERUSALEM - EARLY MORNING SUNRISE

Jesus and his companions are walking along the ruins.
("Excavations in Jerusalem") The city wall is behind them.

Then from above, ("St. Steven's Gate") they enter the Roman
ruins. An arch towers above them, a pool below them. some
inhabitants of the ruins watch.

They enter the temple plaza.

Jesus enters the temple grounds with his central core of
disciples. They have come to worship.

But they are stopped cold by the sight that greets them.
Arranged all around the stairs that lead to the temple are
money-changers, merchants, beggars and whores. A tall, shiny
bronze statue of Tiberius towers over the plaza floor, which
is stained with the blood of sacrificial animals. Jesus turns
to Peter.

JESUS
We came here to pray. What is this?

PETER
The money-changers? Its' for the
temple tax... for the feast.

Jesus calmly addresses a money-changer.

JESUS
How's the exchange today? Making a
good profit?

MONEY-CHANGER
Fair. Can I help you?

Jesus stares for a moment and then with one violent blow
sends the counter filled with coins sailing into the money-
changer's face.

Jesus, now enraged, strides past the booths, overturning the
tables. Scales, weights and coins from all over the world
scatter in every direction. The vendors rush to retrieve
their money.

Other vendors and customers turn on Jesus. Judas, Peter and
the others forcibly fight them off. Jesus calls out:

JESUS
This is my Father's house. It's a
place for worship, not a bank, or a
market.

The disciples circle Jesus for his protection. The RABBI,
surrounded by SADDUCESS, steps out of the temple.

RABBI
Nazarene, what are you doing?

JESUS
God doesn't need a grand house. He
doesn't need cyprus and bloody
animals. He doesn't need shekels.

RABBI
You expect people to pay the tax in
Roman coins? They have images of
false gods on them. You want pagan
gods in the temple? All foreign coins
have to be changed to shekels. That
the law.

JESUS
I abolish the law. I give a new law
and a new hope!

RABBI
What, did God change his mind about
the old law?

JESUS
(exasperated)
No, no. He just thinks our hearts
are ready now to hold more.

RABBI
(not listening)
This chaos is your new law? How can
you presume...

JESUS
How can I presume? Because I am the
fulfillment of the old law and the
beginning of the new.

SADDUCEE
(shocked)
Watch what you're saying.

Peter, becoming concerned with the drift of this argument,
whispers to Jesus.

PETER
Maybe we should go...

Jesus pushes him away.

JESUS
When I say, 'I,' Rabbi, I am saying
'God.'

RABBI
That's blasphemy!

JESUS
Didn't you hear? I'm the Saint of
Blasphemy. Don't make any mistakes.
I haven't come to bring peace, I've
come to bring a sword.

SADDUCEE
Talking like that will get you killed.

JESUS
I'm sick of all of you. This temple
will be destroyed in three days. One
stone won't be left standing on
another. You think God belongs only
to you?! He doesn't! God's an immortal
spirit and belongs to everybody --
to the whole world. You're not
special! God is not an Israelite!

Even the disciples are shocked by this heresy. They escort
Jesus out of the temple grounds for his own safety.

As they reach the bottom of the temple steps they are mobbed.
The beggars press on Jesus, pulling at his arms and legs.

MOB MEMBER #1
Magician! Heal me.

MOB MEMBER #2
Cure us. Make us rich.

MOB MEMBER #3
Heal me. Do a miracle. You want me
to enter the Kingdom of Heaven
crippled like this?

JESUS
(pushes them away)
Get away. You sicken me. You're
selfish! You're full of hate! God
won't help you.

MOB MEMBER #1
Cure us or you won't leave this city
alive!

JESUS
You don't demand from God!

The disciples intervene and pull Jesus away. The mob follows.
Suddenly, four Roman Calvary men stampede into the mob
whipping beggars and everyone else. Jesus and the disciples
break loose from the fray.

ROMAN OFFICER
You, all of you stop. Which one of
you is Jesus of Nazareth?

The disciples groan.

JESUS
I am.

ROMAN OFFICER
Come with us. The Procurator wants
to see you.

The calvarymen lead Jesus away, leaving the disciples behind.

As they watch him go, SAUL, a Zealot, comes up behind Judas
and draws him aside.

SAUL
We need you. What are you doing with
this magician? First you were supposed
to kill him. Now he acts like a
prophet and you follow him.

JUDAS
What are you saying? Didn't you just
hear him?

SAUL
I heard him. He talks about a new
law, he talks about using a sword.
But we took an oath to use the sword
against Rome. I don't see anything
against Rome here. All I see here is
Jew against Jew.

Judas walks away from him.

CUT TO:

INT. ROMAN THEATRE - DAY

The Roman soldiers escort Jesus into the open theatre.

Pilate confers with two soldiers at a table near the stage.
He watches a play in rehearsal. (See Director, Production
Designer, and Costumer for details of play.)

Pilate is informed of Jesus' presence and turns to him.

PILATE
Are you Jesus of Nazareth, King of
the Jews?

JESUS
I'm no king.

PILATE
You aren't the Messiah? They say you
are. You say you are.

JESUS
My kingdom's not on this earth.

PILATE
Oh? Where is it then? In the air,
maybe?

JESUS
In heaven.

PILATE
Good. Keep it there. They tell me
you do miracles. Is this good magic
or bad magic? Can you do a trick for
us?

JESUS
I'm not a pet. I don't do tricks.

PILATE
That's disappointing. I was hoping
to see something.

JESUS
The prophet Daniel had a vision. A
huge statue had a gold head, and
silver shoulders...

PILATE
(interrupts)
Don't tell me stories. I'm not a
dumb Jew.

JESUS
Listen. Learn.

PILATE
(daring him)
Go ahead. Teach me something.

JESUS
The stomach was bronze, the legs
were iron, the feet were clay. A
stone was thrown. The clay feet broke
and the statue collapsed.

PILATE
Is that it?

JESUS
God is the thrower. I'm the stone.
Rome is the statue.

PILATE
Clearly. But that's how you're going
to bring down the Roman Empire? One
stone? Only you?

Jesus starts to speak, then stops.

JESUS (V.O.)
God, give me the answer. I don't
know what to say.

PILATE
No answer?

JESUS (V.O.)
Please speak to me. I need words.

A pain suddenly surges through the back of Jesus' neck. His
knees buckle. For a moment he seems crippled.

PILATE
You're not a stone. You're excrement.
Get him out of here.

Jesus is confused, humiliated, and in pain. Soldiers start
to lead him out.

PILATE
And my wife dreams about you. She
should see you now.

Pilate turns back to the play.

CUT TO:

EXT. MARY AND MARTHA'S HOUSE - DAY

Lazarus, his back to us, is resting and looking out over the
valley. His hand reaches for a cup of water. The fingers are
more whole. He seems to be healing.

It is midday, Lazarus thinks he is by himself.

VOICE
Lazarus. Lazarus.

He turns in the direction of the voice. We see Saul, the
Zealot who spoke to Judas in the temple at Jerusalem.

SAUL
Feeling better?

LAZARUS
I like the light.

SAUL
What was it like? Which is better,
life or death?

LAZARUS
Well, I was a little surprised. There
wasn't that much difference...

SAUL
Well, let me help you make up your
mind.

Another arm comes in from behind and grabs Lazarus around
the neck. Saul pulls a sword and very professionally plunges
it into Lazarus' chest, ripping upwards towards his heart.

CUT TO:

EXT. OUTSIDE JERUSALEM - NIGHT

Judas, who has been looking for Jesus, finds him alone on
the road leading out of the city. He sits beside him.

JUDAS
I've been looking all over for you.
For two days. We're really worried
about you. I have to tell you. They
killed Lazarus.

Jesus collects his thoughts.

JESUS
Who?

JUDAS
Zealots.

JESUS
Your people. Why?

JUDAS
Because he was the living proof of
your power. Zealots say you're paid
by the Romans to tell the people
only heaven is important. Not their
life now. Not being dominated by
Romans. That's very dangerous.

JESUS
(quietly)
Yes. It make everything clearer.

JUDAS
Clearer? What are you talking about,
clearer? It just makes everything
worse. We want a revolution, the
Zealots want a revolution but now
they're against us. We can't let
that happen. We need them.

JESUS
Do you want to join them, then?

JUDAS
No. They're my brothers, but you're
my master.

JESUS
You are the strongest, aren't you?
Of all my friends, you're the
strongest. I have to tell you
something.

JUDAS
Tell me whatever you want. You can
depend on me.

JESUS
You know why I came to Jerusalem?

JUDAS
This is where we're going to fight.
This is where the revolution's going
to happen.

Jesus nods.

JESUS
Last night Isaiah came to me.

JUDAS
(eager)
What did he say?

JESUS
He opened his book and I read in
giant letters: 'He has borne our
faults; he was wounded for our
transgressions. He was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth. Despised
and rejected by all, he went forward
without resisting, like a lamb led
to the slaughter.'

JUDAS
(pause)
So? What does that have to do with
you?

JESUS
Judas. I'm the lamb. I'm the one who
is going to die.

JUDAS
What do you mean, die? Die? Did you
change your mind again.

JESUS
No.

Judas jumps up.

JUDAS
Then what are you talking about?
That can't be. If you're the Messiah,
why do you have to die?

JESUS
Don't shout. You'll understand soon.
At first I didn't understand myself.

JUDAS
Every day you have a different plan.
I can't believe it. First it's love,
then it's the ax, now you have to
die. What good could that do. We
need you alive.

JESUS
I can't help it. God only talks to
me a little at a time. He only shows
me as much as I have to know. Now I
finally understand. All my life. All
my life I've been followed. By
footsteps. By voices. By headaches.
By shadows. And you know what the
shadow is? It's the cross. I have to
die on the cross. And I have to die
willingly... We need courage, Judas.
We need faith. I'm the fulfillment
of the prophecy. The cross is the
way I have to take.

Judas is dumbfounded, and his anger is mounting.

JESUS
So we go to Jerusalem. We go back to
the temple. Whatever happens there
will put me on the cross.

JUDAS
(barely controlling
his anger)
And after you die on the cross? What
happens then?

JESUS
I'll come back to judge the living
and the dead.

JUDAS
(pause)
I don't believe you.

JESUS
If you don't believe, nobody will.
You have to believe. You're the
strongest.

CUT TO:

EXT. OUTSIDE JERUSALEM - DAY

A blazing sun. Jesus and the disciples on the march. Following
close behind is an entourage of twenty toughs.

James turns to Judas.

JAMES
I'm worried he's going to change his
mind again.

JUDAS
No he won't. We're taking the temple.

JAMES
What if we don't.

JUDAS
We'll die.

JAMES
(looking around)
There aren't many of us. And nobody
back there looks like a soldier.

JUDAS
God will provide.

Near them, Nathaniel and Philip are talking.

NATHANIEL
What do you want?

PHILIP
What do you mean?

NATHANIEL
When we build the New Jerusalem and
set up the new government.

PHILIP
(thinks)
Well, I guess I'd like more sheep.
You know, my other sheep, I don't
even know where they are now. This
time I want a large herd. I'd hire
other shepherds to take care of them.
You know, Laban, that man who has a
large farm north of Tiberias? I'd
like one like that.

NATHANIEL
Yeah.

PHILIP
How about you?

NATHANIEL
First, I'd like to be able to worship
in the temple. I mean really worship --
without Roman banners and soldiers
standing around.

PHILIP
(nods)
Of course. But what else?

Behind them, John, Andrew and Thomas argue.

THOMAS
I'm not afraid.

JOHN
Then don't act like it.

THOMAS
I'll do anything the Master asks...
anything but get crucified.

ANDREW
You're a coward.

THOMAS
Call me a coward after you've been
hanging up there for two days and
the crows come and suck out your
eyes.

JOHN
I made my decision. If you can't
make yours, leave now before we enter
the Kingdom.

THOMAS
(touches his chest)
I'm ready. I have my knife.

Peter passes by and rushes a little anxiously to catch up
with Jesus, who is walking at the front of the line.

PETER
I've been talking with the others,
and listening, and a lot of us are a
little concerned, we're wondering...
well... will you have legions of
angels meeting us there? Or anyone?
Besides who's here?

Jesus doesn't answer, but he puts his arm around Peter's
shoulder.

CUT TO:

EXT. JERUSALEM - DAY

Jesus and his followers -- about a hundred strong -- pass
through "The excavations around Jerusalem." The city wall is
behind them. More people begin to join the ranks.

They enter "St. Stephen's Gate" (the arch over a pool of
water). The mob grows around them. Some have palm branches.

They are now in the "Underground City." Jesus is riding a
donkey. Women and children wave palm branches, throw flowers,
lay down palms and shawls in Jesus' path. They cheer "Rosanna,
Rosanna."

A new chant -- abetted by Judas and his followers -- goes
up: "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews."

The procession reaches the temple plaza. Jesus dismounts and
looks around.

Outside the temple walls, stalls occupy every nook and cranny.
Hundreds of people are selling, buying, bargaining, hawking
their wares: merchants, money-changers, innkeepers,
prostitutes.

Jesus, full of rage, followed by the disciples, sweeps down
on the wine stands and workshops, overturning the tables,
striking the tradesmen with his goad. (determined crane -
MS)

JESUS
Get out! Away!

Jesus mounts the temple steps. Smoke seems to be coming from
his body. This is his moment.

Behind him, everyone loots stalls and routs merchants with
great enthusiasm, as if Jesus' solitary act of anger last
time in the temple had now become an example for mob action.

On the top of the temple steps, Jesus pauses momentarily.

JESUS (V.O.)
Lord, I hope this is what you want.
Please let it happen quickly, while
I have the strength.

Now he turns to face the mob.

JESUS
I am here to set fire to the world!
In the desert The Baptist said,
'Repent, Repent! The day of the Lord
is coming!' but I'm saying it's too
late to repent. The Day of the Lord's
already here! I am the Day of the
Lord. I come with the baptism of
fire!

The poor in the mob yell: "Fire! Fire -- burn it all down!"

The TEMPLE GUARDS (usually Levites) grab their lances and
swords. Judas' cohorts draw their weapons.

Suddenly, there is a blast of trumpets. ROMAN SENTRIES,
heavily armed, appear on top of the temple walls. There are
dozens of them, and they are ready to fight.

The people look up. Jesus stops. Peter is still rallying the
crowd, lighted torch in his hand.

PETER
Let's go! Now's the time!

The crowd looks from the Romans to Jesus. For the moment,
the crowd is still with him. Judas whispers urgently to Jesus.

JUDAS
They're all with you! They're waiting
for your signal! Give it!

Peter looks over at Jesus.

PETER
Come on! Now!

Jesus looks from the Romans on the wall to the ground.

JESUS (V.O.)
Please. I'm waiting too. Put the ax
in my hands. Not the cross. Let me
die like this.

JOHN
If you don't give the sign now, we're
finished. We'll be killed for what
we did today.

PHILIP
We came here to fight, not to die!

Jesus remains still.

JUDAS
Master, we knew they would be strong!
We knew it would be like this.

The Roman Soldiers swarm off the walls and start down into
the temple.

Jesus looks at his hands: blood oozes from his palms. He
closes his fists to hide the stigmata and raises his eyes to
Judas.

JESUS
Judas. Come beside me.

Judas puts his arm around Jesus. The crowd, confused and
furious, starts to scatter. Some of them throw things at the
disciples as they all scramble to avoid the violence of the
Roman soldiers.

JESUS
(to Judas)
Stay by my side.

The other disciples swarm around Jesus and Judas and form a
wedge. As the Roman soldiers disperse through the temple
courtyard, Jesus and the disciples are swept by the frantic
crowd into a side street leading to the Underground City
below the temple.

CUT TO:

EXT. JERUSALEM - SUNSET

Passover preparations are underway. At twilight we see the
"excavations in Jerusalem." Over a hundred people in black
move across them. Large candles cover the entire site.

We see now elderly Jews cleansing themselves at the ritual
baths. The steam rises to the sky.

The "Underground City" is teeming with men, women, children,
(animals) preparing for the celebration. They wear black and
white shawls and are bathed in candlelight. Psalms, music
and voices are heard.

Jesus and Judas are walking and watching carefully. They
stop at a selected spot between two trees.

JUDAS
There's got to be something else you
can do.

JESUS
I wish there was. At the temple I
prayed. I prayed to die. But it's
not God's will. I have to die on the
cross. I prayed out of weakness and
I'm weakening even more. You've got
to give me strength.

JUDAS
I won't let you die.

JESUS
You've got to. There's no other way.
The world around us is Satan's world.
It will be destroyed! The world of
God will come! But only by my dying!
By my sacrifice on the cross! Forget
everything else! Understand that.

JUDAS
No I can't. I'm not strong enough.

JESUS
You are. You're the strongest. You're
part of God's plan too. You once
made me a promise. You said if I
ever strayed, if I ever shied away
from revolution, you would kill me.
Remember?

Judas nods.

JESUS
I've strayed, haven't I?

JUDAS
Yes.

JESUS
Then you have to keep your word. You
have to kill me.

JUDAS
If God wants that, then let God do
it. I won't.

JESUS
He will do it. Through you. The Temple
Guards want to arrest me where there
aren't any crowds. Tonight we'll be
in Gethsemane. Arrange for them to
find me. It will be terrible. But
only for three days. Only three days!
Then I'll come back. We'll all be
together in triumph.

JUDAS
No.

JESUS
You've got to! Don't abandon me now.
Without you, the world can't be saved,
There'll be no redemption. Without
us together, the sacrifice can't be
made.

JUDAS
Could you betray God? If you were
me, could you betray your Master?

JESUS
No. That's why God gave me the easier
job... to be crucified.

CUT TO:

INT. UPPER ROOM - NIGHT

Three seven-branched candelabra illuminate the lamb, wine
and unleavened bread.

The disciples are seated on cushions on the ground. Food is
brought in from an adjacent room.

Mary, Martha and Magdalene have all come to Jerusalem to
celebrate the festival with Jesus and his disciples and
prepare the ritual meal.

Jesus fills the disciples cups from a pitcher of salt water.

JESUS
Our ancestors in Egypt celebrated
Passover before they escaped to the
freedom of the desert. On this
Passover we come out of another kind
of slavery and enter another kind of
freedom.

PHILIP
Oh, please. We're hiding here like
criminals, we can't go out the door,
and even if we could we wouldn't
want to because we've been so
humiliated, we'd like to respect
you...

JOHN
Respect him? We love him.

PHILIP
...yes, alright, yes, we love him,
that goes without saying, but at
least he could...

JESUS
(interrupting)
First... first... first we drink
salt water to remember the tears and
pain our ancestors suffered in the
land of Israel.

Jesus swallows his drink in a single gulp; Judas is the first
to do likewise. Mary brings a tray of bitter herbs. As the
disciples eat, Jesus watches.

JESUS
Tonight we go further. This passover
celebrates the passage from death to
eternal life. I'll lead the way, you
will follow. John, you know the
prophets. Isaiah says, 'He had neither
beauty nor luster that we should
turn our eyes to him. He was despised
and rejected by men...'

JOHN
(continues)
'...But he took on himself all our
pains. He was wounded for our
transgressions, he was bruised for
our inequities, and with his stripes
we are healed.'

JESUS
(interrupting)
'...He was scourged and he was
afflicted. Yet, like a lamb led to
the slaughter, he opened not his
mouth.'
(a beat)
My dear, wonderful friends. I am the
lamb. And I won't open my mouth.
They've been leading me to the
slaughter ever since I was born.

The disciples exchange fearful glances.

PETER
If you die, I'll die first. Because
I'll be at your side.

JESUS
Be quiet. What did you have before I
found you? All of you. Nothing.
(no answer)
Now you have God's love -- and eternal
life. Don't worry. You won't die
yet. There's still a lot of work to
do. We haven't come to rule, but to
serve. In three days I'll rise from
the dead to lead you.

The disciples stare in shocked silence. Jesus has either
gone completely mad -- or he is the Messiah.

Jesus breaks the bread loaves and passes them around. He
pours wine for the others:

JESUS
Eat, this is my body. Drink, this is
my blood. I will be in you always.

As they do, the bread and the wine transubstantiate into
flesh and blood in their mouths. They blanch and cough; some
blood falls on the table. Peter removes the substance from
his mouth with his hand and examines it: it has the
consistency of blood and flesh. This is literally hard for
all the disciples to swallow. But they all persevere, and,
finally, they all manage to do it. As they wipe their bloody
mouths, John starts to weep. Jesus turns and looks at Judas.

Judas exits... Peter shouts angrily after him:.

PETER
Judas, where are you going?
(to Jesus)
Where's he going?

JESUS
Don't get in the way. Tonight we'll
go to Gethsemane to pray.

CUT TO:

EXT. GETHSEMANE - NIGHT

As they climb the steep hills of Gethsemane, Jesus leaves
most of his group behind and proceeds with Peter, James and
John. Passing through thick, gnarled olive groves, they reach
a clearing marked by three boulders. (looks like a Henry
Moore sculpture). The leaves glisten on the trees all around
them.

JESUS
Wait for me here.

Jesus walks alone until he finds a secluded spot. Pulling
his tunic around him, he kneels beneath an ancient tree.

JESUS
Father, Father in heaven. Father on
earth. The world you created that we
can see is beautiful. But the world
you created that we can't see is
beautiful too. I don't know -- forgive
me -- Father, I don't know which is
the more beautiful.

Jesus scoops up a handful of soil and smells it. "What
perfume" he thinks. Then as he rubs the soil on his cheeks,
neck and lips, he speaks.

JESUS
This is my body too. Together we
will die.

Jesus' body weakens. He starts to sweat.

JESUS
Abba, Father, we've been together a
long time. I never asked to be chosen,
but, I always obeyed. You've done
many miracles for others. You opened
the Red Sea for Moses. You saved
Noah. You took Elijah directly to
heaven in a fiery chariot. Now you
ask me to be crucified. Can I ask
you one last time? Do I have to die?
Is there any other way? Do I have to
drink from this cup? Can't you take
it away from me?

Jesus waits for an answer that doesn't come. The wind blows
through the olive trees.

Jesus looks over, sees Peter, James and John asleep.

Now, in front of him, a GUARDIAN ANGEL in the form of one of
the sleeping disciples appears and sets a clay cup before
Jesus.

JESUS
Is this your answer?

The Angel drinks from the cup then hands it to Jesus.

Jesus reaches for the cup, but the Angel no longer holds it.
His hand is empty. Then, slowly, the Angel's hand reaches
forward and lightly caresses the top of Jesus' head to comfort
him.

JESUS
Your will be done. I only ask for
strength.

Jesus wipes the sweat and tears from his face and leaves.

CUT TO:

EXT. GETHSEMANE - NIGHT

At the three-point rock Jesus finds Peter, James and John
fast asleep. John's head rests peacefully on his brother's
chest. Peter lies flat with his arms outstretched. Jesus is
tempted not to wake them.

JESUS
(softly)
Couldn't you stay awake with me for
just an hour?

Peter is the first to awake.

PETER
I'm sorry.

Jesus hears the sound of soldiers in the distance.

JESUS
It doesn't matter. It's too late.

Jesus hears the evening nightingale overheard. A feeling of
peace sweeps over him. He smiles at James and John as they
awaken. (moving camera here to end of scene?)

Judas and a band of Romans and armed Temple Guards carrying
long torches burst into the clearing. Peter pulls his dagger;
Jesus pushes him back. Judas greets his master.

JUDAS
Welcome, Rabbi.

Judas kisses him fiercely on the mouth. Jesus gratefully
embraces his faithful disciple. Tears stream down Judas'
cheek.

Peter attacks and slices off one of the Temple Guard's ears.

Jesus pushes Judas unwillingly away. He turns to Peter,
touches the knife simply (36 f.p.s.).

JESUS
No. You live by this, you die by it.

The knife falls to the ground (36 f.p.s.). Two guards grab
Peter but he wrestles them off and runs away. Jesus picks up
the severed ear (36 f.p.s.) and miraculously restores it to
the Levite (36 f.p.s.).

JESUS
Welcome. You're the messengers of
God. Let's go.

CUT TO:

INT. ANTONIA - DAY

Jesus again stands before Pilate. He is bloody, beaten,
exhausted from lack of sleep. A clique of Temple Guards,
Pharisees and Sadducess stand in one corner of the hall.

PILATE
You're back.
(pause)
Hello.
(pause)
So now you're a king. Is that right?

Jesus stares at the sky.

PILATE
Don't look in the air. Look at me.
Answer me. I can crucify you. You
know that? Now... are you a king?

JESUS
Some say so.

PILATE
Ah yes. Well last time you took that
line with me, you fooled me. I don't
like to be fooled. What you did in
the temple makes it very clear. You're
just another of these religious
revolutionaries making difficulties.
You take the people into the desert,
you talk about God, love, mercy and
the new kingdom, but you're just the
same as the Zealots. You all promise
glory and bring death. There's a new
Messiah every week and a new one
dies every week and Rome continues.

JESUS
Remember the statue. And the stone.
And the clay feet.

PILATE
How could I forget. Still think your
kingdom will replace Rome?

JESUS
No. My kingdom is not on earth.

PILATE
No, it wouldn't be. You're a little
smarter than the others. After all,
what's a revolution on earth compared
to a revolution in people's hearts?

JESUS
It's a revolution that will come
with love, not by the sword.

PILATE
Either way it's dangerous. It's
against Rome. It's against the way
the world is. And either way, I don't
care. Sword or love, it's all the
same. I don't care how you want to
change things. We don't want them
changed. So you know what has to
happen. We have a small space for
you up on Golgotha. Right next to
the bones of your predecessors. Three
thousand skulls there, very likely
more by now. Maybe you people should
go out and count them sometime. Maybe
then you'd learn your lesson. But
probably not.

Pilate looks over at the Pharisees and Sadducees.

PILATE
Do you gentlemen have anything to
add?

SADDUCEE
We can't condone the killing of any
Jew. But everything this man does
and everything he says could lead to
revolution. We don't want revolution.
Action against a power like Rome is
hopeless. It invites reprisals that
would mean the extinction of the
Jewish people. It's the death of one
man against the death of millions.
There's no alternative for us.

PHARISEE
Many of our own people believe this
man is being paid by Rome anyway.

PILATE
Fine. It's agreed.
(to Jesus)
But just so people appreciate your
rank, we'll write it all out for
them. "King of the Jews."

CUT TO:

EXT. ANTONIA - DAY

Direct overhead angle: We see down a thick column. Jesus is
tied to it, naked. (obscured nudity) He is scourged.

CUT TO:

EXT. ANTONIA - LATER

Weakened, bloody, naked (obscured nudity), Jesus is being
swung by the arm like a rag doll into a solid wall (pan).
Closer, we see his face as it hits the wall, smashing his
nose.

CUT TO:

EXT. ANTONIA - LATER

Close of a crown of thorns (rather, a skullcap of them),
being hit onto his head with the broad edge of a sword.

CUT TO:

EXT. ANTONIA - LATER

In the distance, Roman soldiers lead Jesus onto the balcony
overlooking the temple plaza and present him to the awaiting
mob. His tunic is drenched with blood.

The crowd watching this ceremony is literally divided against
itself. Half is cheering and carousing, a real lynch mob.
The other half is angry and shouting to stop the crucifixion.
Soldiers manage to contain these little pockets of action.

PETER stands watching with his back pressed against a wall.
A BEGGAR turns to him.

BEGGAR
I've seen you. You're one of his
followers.

PETER
No. It must be somebody else.

BEGGAR
No, it's you.

PETER
You don't know what you're talking
about.

Peter turns quickly and disappears into the crowd.

CUT TO:

EXT. JERUSALEM STREETS (UNDERGROUND CITY) - DAY

Peter is running down an alley when, turning a corner, he
runs into Philip, also fleeing.

They don't even speak. After a fleeting recognition, they
sprint in opposite directions.

CUT TO:

EXT. JERUSALEM (THE EXCAVATIONS IN JERUSALEM AND AVDAT) -
DAY

Roman soldiers lead Jesus through the peasant streets outside
Golgtha. The blood has dried on his tunic. He still wears
his thorny "crown."

The cross-bar Jesus carries scrapes alongside the walls of
the houses because the paths are extremely narrow. (high
angle looking down on these open roofed dwellings and the
narrow passageways.) They are jammed with people (36-48
f.p.s.). Men, women, children, (animals), in the windows and
open doorways try to get a glimpse of Jesus. The atmosphere
has changed. Now it's just another show. A multiple
crucifixion: Laughter. Ridicule. Figs for sale. Jesus weakens.
He's knees buckle, the weight of the cross-bar throws him
off balance and he falls. A Roman soldier pulls him back up
by a rope around his neck.

We see close shots of people, their faces. Their eyes, (36-
48 f.p.s.). Some turn away. Some cry. Some are mocking. One
woman in a window, her head covered with a shawl, turns away
(moving, 36-48 f.p.s.).

CUT TO:

EXT. GOLGOTHA (ADVAT) - DAY

Golgotha, the hill of the skull. The rocks are bleached white.
There are many crosses, most of them with no cross-bars.
Some are simply trees with no branches (see DeMassina). One
or two crosses bear half-eaten decomposed corpses. On the
ground, we see human skulls and bones, skeletal arms and
hands mixed with the rocks.

A curious crowd has already assembled at the crucifixion
site. Toward the rear, afraid to approach, Magdalene, Mary,
Martha and Jesus' Mother stand in a tight group.

The Romans bring Jesus to the peak of the hill and strip
him. Two other criminals are prepared for crucifixion.

Jesus looks at the rough-hewn cross laid before him (P.O.V.
move in?). He searches the crowd.

JESUS (V.O.)
Mother? Magdalene? Where are you?

He sees his Mother and tries to gesture to her.

JESUS (V.O.)
(continuing)
Forgive me for being a bad son.

TWO SOLDIERS grab Jesus by the arms:

FIRST SOLDIER
Alright, You Majesty, on your throne.

They stretch Jesus out on the cross while slave laborers
finish preparing the post hole for the cross.

JESUS (V.O.)
Don't dessert me here. Don't leave
me.

The Soldiers place the crude spikes against Jesus' wrists.
The sound of METAL AGAINST METAL rings out as the hammer
comes down. (see nail driven through from behind wood).

A bloody mist sprays on Jesus' face. He grimaces but does
not cry out.

Martha and the three Marys hide their faces. Near Jesus, the
other criminals are being impaled. (trees, see DeMassina)

The Romans fasten ropes around Jesus' arms. The spikes alone
will not support his weight.

It takes three soldiers to hoist Jesus' cross upright. Now,
suddenly, he is above the masses. All of Jerusalem is within
view.

His body jars in to place. The pain is excruciating. His
fellow criminals howl in agony.

Jesus surveys the mob: a sea of hostile faces. He finds
Magdalene, Mary, Martha and his Mother standing together.

The Sadducees are satisfied; the Romans are complacent. Groups
of townspeople and schoolboys point out the sufferings of
the condemned men.

JESUS (V.O.)
(continuing)
Father, forgive them.

The sky changes color. A fierce wind blows across the rocky
hill.

Writhing on the cross, Jesus looks to heaven and screams:

JESUS
Eli, Eli...

CUT TO:

EXT. GOLGOTHA - DAY

The sky turns a pleasant pale blue. Jesus looks up at the
thick white cumulous clouds floating on the horizon. Birds
sing in the distance.

He thinks: Am I dead? No, the crowd is still there, SILENT.
On either side of Jesus, his fellow criminals writhe in silent
agony.

An old man appears before him, standing.

JESUS
Who are you?

The man does not answer.

JESUS
Are you my father?

ANGEL
No, but I was sent by him. I'm the
angel who guards you.

He is now closer to Jesus.

ANGEL
Your father is the God of Mercy, not
punishment. He saw you and said,
'Aren't you his Guardian Angel? Well,
go down and save him. He's suffered
enough.' Remember when he told Abraham
to sacrifice his son? Just as Abraham
lifted his knife, God saved Isaac.
If he saved Abraham's son, don't you
think he'd want to save his own? He
tested you, and he's pleased. He
doesn't want your blood. He said,
"Let him die in a dream. But let him
have his life." Come with me.

JESUS
All this pain is a dream?

ANGEL
Just a dream.

In three separate shots, the Angel takes out the nails in
Jesus' body.

First, the Angel extracts the nail in the feet, then kisses
the wound, stopping the flow of blood.

Then, the Angel does the same to the left hand.

Then, the same is done on the right hand.

In a moment Jesus and the Guardian Angel are standing at the
foot of the cross. They pass through the silent crowd
unnoticed. Jesus looks over his shoulder: his cross is empty.
He begins to understand.

JESUS
I don't have to be sacrificed.

ANGEL
No. No you don't.

Jesus smiles. This is finally the answer he's been waiting
for. He is free of God.

JESUS
I'm not the Messiah.

ANGEL
No. No you're not.

JESUS
Thank God.

They start to walk away from the cross down the hill. We
still see the crucifixion site in the background.

JESUS
What about all the others?

ANGEL
Don't look behind, God gave you the
gift of life. Look ahead.

JESUS
But what about the people? What will
happen?

ANGEL
They can see you crucified. Or they'll
see you dead. Or they can see you
any way they want.

JESUS
What happens later if they see me
alive?

ANGEL
They'll see any one you want them to
see. Even you. If you want.

JESUS
Where are the disciples?

ANGEL
Oh, they were frightened and ran
away.

CUT TO:

EXT. JUDEAN COUNRYSIDE - DAY

They walk through the pleasant landscape of the Jordan Valley.
All is quiet, peaceful. A light morning fog envelops them.

JESUS
Is this the Kingdom of God I spoke
about?

ANGEL
(laughing)
No, this is earth.

JESUS
Why has it changed so much?

ANGEL
It hasn't changed, you have. Now,
you can see its real beauty. Harmony
between the earth and the heart,
that's the Kingdom of Heaven. Maybe
you'll find this hard to believe.
But we angels often look down on man
and envy you.

Ahead (possibly in a wooded area), Jesus sees a group in
ceremonial dress. Virgins dressed in white, merchants carrying
incense and gifts,

JESUS
What is this?

ANGEL
A wedding ceremony.

JESUS
Who's getting married?

ANGEL
You are.

Mary Magdalene, dressed in white, steps from the group. Jesus'
face bursts into a smile. He rushes into her arms.

JESUS
What's wrong? Why are you crying?

MAGDALENE
I'm thanking God for bringing you
here.

He holds her tight.

CUT TO:

EXT. JUDEAN HOUSE - NIGHT

A small hut in wooded are. Moonlight shimmers off the river
and a fog filters through the wooded area.

The Guardian Angel sits on a stool in front of the door.

CUT TO:

INT. JUDEAN HOUSE - NIGHT

Jesus and Magdalene make love on blankets spread over straw.
He kisses her breasts, her lips. He kisses her abdomen below
the navel, taking in the sweat and scent of her body as he
did the soil in Gethsemane.

MAGDALENE
We can have a child.

JESUS
Yes.

Jesus continues kissing her body.

The Guardian Angel steps into the darkened room, stands over
their bed and makes a strange sign in the air that may be a
blessing.

ANGEL
Bless you, children.

They look at him for a brief moment, then resume kissing.
The Angel withdraws quietly to a corner and sits, guarding.

CUT TO:

EXT. JUDEAN HOUSE - DAY

The house shows sign of domestication. Magdalene sits outside
in the sun. She is several months pregnant.

She sits with her back to the camera, very much in the manner
of Lazarus in a previous scene. The camera dollies in. She
turns and smiles.

A shadow of a hand falls down across her face and bosom onto
her belly.

MAGDALENE
Death is kind.

Her own hands hug her stomach lightly as she starts to fall
over. She dies as if she's gone to sleep.

CUT TO:

EXT. JUDEAN HOUSE - DAY

Jesus' face in grief. He's kneeling over the body of
Magdalene.

JESUS
Magdalene...

The Angel comes into the frame. Jesus gets up and grabs an
ax. The Angel stops him.

ANGEL
Where are you going?

Jesus doesn't answer but starts to walk -- determined. The
Guardian Angel calls after him.

ANGEL
Who are you going to kill, Jesus?

Jesus keeps walking.

ANGEL
God. Are you going to kill God?

Jesus stops and looks back.

ANGEL
It was God who killed her.

The Guardian Angel holds him in his arms and caresses his
hair and shoulders as he leads him away.

ANGEL
God took her at the height of her
happiness. Now she's immortal. She
won't see her love fade or her flesh
rot away. Can she be happier? I was
there the whole time he was killing
her and I saw what happened.

They sit on a bench near the house.

JESUS
But it wasn't right... it wasn't
right for him to kill her.

ANGEL
You didn't question God when he let
you live. You can't question why he
let her die. Be patient. Trust in
God's way. Listen, only one woman
exists in the world, one woman with
many faces. This one falls, the next
one gets up. Mary Magdalene died,
Mary, Lazarus' sister lives. She's
Magdalene with a different face.
She's carrying your greatest joy
inside her. Your son. Come with me.

The Guardian Angel helps Jesus to his feet. They exit frame.

CUT TO:

EXT. MARY AND MARTHA'S HOUSE - NIGHT

We are moving in to a close view of their doorway, Jesus'
and the Guardian Angel's P.O.V. as they approach.

ANGEL (V.O.)
This is the way the Savior comes:
gradually -- from embrace to embrace --
from son to son. This is the road.

JESUS (V.O.)
I understand...

Martha enters the doorway, looks out and sees them.

MARTHA
Oh, Mary look!

Mary joins her in the doorway. Both women wear black, as do
most people in these Bethany scenes.

CUT TO:

INT. MARY AND MARTHA'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Jesus enters. The Guardian Angel remains outside.

Mary touches Jesus' chest.

MARY
Rabbi, I want to see if it's really
you.

MARTHA
It's real flesh -- like us. Don't
you see? And look, there's a shadow
on our doorstep.

Jesus turns and goes to the doorway. From outside, over the
Guardian Angel's shoulder, we see Jesus approach. Mary and
Martha remain in the background.

JESUS
(to Guardian Angel)
Come in.

ANGEL
Come here.

Jesus leans forward to listen.

ANGEL
Master, I'm sorry about Magdalene.
I'll never leave you alone again.
I'll always protect you. I don't
want you to take the wrong road again
and get lost.

Martha walks over to them.

MARTHA
You must be hungry. I'll cook for
you and your friend.

The Angel goes into the home with them.

CUT TO:

INT MARY AND MARTHA'S HOUSE - NIGHT (LATER)

They all sit around the fire. Jesus cleans his bowl with a
piece of bread. He smiles at Mary.

MARTHA
Rabbi, I like your friend.

JESUS
(expansive)
Nothing was enough for me before.
And now look at this. Can you believe
it? A small house is big enough for
me, some bread, some friends. I'm
not going to fight with God anymore.
I'm not going to build crosses
anymore. I'm going to build cradles
and beds.

Mary reaches out to touch Jesus. He takes her hand. Martha,
noticing this, gets up and leaves quietly. Mary and Jesus
embrace. The Angel watches.

CUT TO:

EXT. MARY AND MARTHA'S - DAY

Years have passed. An older Jesus sits out front hewing a
chair. Two children play nearby.

ANGEL
Are you satisfied with me? Do you
have any complaints?

Jesus stops working, sets the chair on its' side.

JESUS
None.
(pause)
I'm ashamed when I think of it.

ANGEL
Of what?

JESUS
What a twisted road I took to find
God.

ANGEL
Don't worry. I won't leave you. I
like you.

Jesus rests in the sunlight. Martha walks over to them. She
has been washing clothes.

JESUS
Where's Mary?

MARTHA
In the olive groves. She won't be
back until this evening.

Martha pauses a moment, then takes Jesus' hand.

MARTHA
(continuing)
Let's go inside. It's too hot out
here.

Martha goes inside.

MARTHA
Come inside.

Jesus looks towards Martha, then the Guardian Angel.

ANGEL
There's only one woman in the world.
Go inside.

Jesus stands.

JESUS
(to the Guardian Angel)
Watch the children.

The Angel smiles as Jesus enters the house.

CUT TO:

EXT. BETHANY - DAY

Years have passed. Jesus and Martha return from the market
with four of their children, ages two through ten. Jesus
carries the youngest, who is laughing, under his arm, like a
bundle. The Guardian Angel walks with them.

Ahead, Mary sits in front of the house repairing a dress.
Two girls play with straw dolls in the dirt beside her.

The two youngest children, boys, race toward Mary. One
snatches a doll from one of the girls as they race off again.
Mary scolds them as they go.

From the distance, we hear the SOUND of someone preaching in
the townsquare. The voice attracts Jesus' attention. He calls
to his eldest son.

JESUS
Don't forget to thank God for the
food and make sure you save me some.

ANGEL
Aren't you going to dinner?

JESUS
I'll be back soon. I want to hear
what he's saying.

ANGEL
You don't have to go there...

They walk off, arguing in a friendly way.

CUT TO:

EXT. TOWNSQUARE - DAY

Paul -- who we recognize as the Zealot Saul who killed Lazarus --
preaches to a handful of villagers. Standing straight,
radiating confidence, he speaks with the evangelistic fervor
of a born-again Christian.

PAUL
I used to be a sinner. The worst
sinner. I did everything. Whored,
drank, murdered. I killed anyone who
violated the Law of Moses. Then, I
was struck by a burning light and a
voice called to me, 'Saul, why are
you persecuting me? Why are you
against me?' 'Who are you?' I said.
'Jesus,' the voice said, and he gave
me my sight. I opened my eyes and I
was baptized and became Paul. I bring
the good news to every country.

Jesus comes closer, the Angel by his side.

PAUL
I bring this news. About Jesus of
Nazareth. He wasn't the son of Mary,
he was the son of God. His mother
was a virgin. The angel Gabriel came
to earth and put God's seed in her
womb. That's how he was born. He
took on our sins, he was tortured,
crucified -- but three days later he
rose again and was taken up to heaven.
Death was conquered, praise God!
Death was conquered, sins were
forgiven and the Kingdom of Heaven's
now open to everyone.

Jesus can restrain himself no longer. He calls out:

JESUS
Did you ever see this resurrected
Jesus of Nazareth? I mean, with your
own eyes?

PAUL
No. But I saw a blinding flash of
light and I heard his voice.

JESUS
You're a liar!

PAUL
His disciples saw him. They were
hiding in an attic with the doors
locked when suddenly he appeared.
Only one, Thomas, wasn't convinced
but he put his fingers in his wounds
and gave Jesus some fish, which he
ate.

JESUS
Liar!
(to people around him)
He's a liar!

Disgusted, Jesus turns and walks away. His angel follows.

In the background, Paul comes after him.

Jesus feels Paul's footsteps drawing closer. He's about to
explode. Suddenly, he turns on his heel, grabs Paul by the
shoulders and shakes him violently.

JESUS
(continuing)
You're a liar! I'm Jesus of Nazareth.
I was never crucified. I never came
back from the dead. I'm a man like
everyone else. Why are you spreading
these lies?

ANGEL
Quiet.

PAUL
What are you talking about?

JESUS
I'm the son of Mary and Joseph, who
preached in Galilee. James and John,
the sons of Zebedee, were my
disciples. We marched on Jerusalem,
they brought me before Pilate, but
God saved me.

Jesus' Angel doesn't like this conversation; he tugs violently
at his sleeve. Jesus shoves him aside. Paul takes Jesus around
a corner where they won't be seen.

PAUL
No he didn't!

JESUS
Now I live like a man. I have a
family. I eat, work, have children.
Do you understand what I'm saying?
Don't go around the world spreading
these lies about me.
(shouts)
Because, I'll tell everyone the truth.

Now it's Paul's turn to explode.

PAUL
Look around you! Look at these people.
Do you see the suffering and
unhappiness in this world? Their
only hope is the Resurrected Jesus.
I don't care whether you're Jesus or
not. The Resurrected Jesus will save
the world -- that's what matters.

JESUS
The world can't be saved by lies.

PAUL
I created the truth. I make it out
of longing and faith. I don't struggle
to find truth -- I build it. If it's
necessary to crucify you to save the
world, then I'll crucify you. And
I'll resurrect you too, whether you
like it or not.

JESUS
I won't let you. I'll tell everyone
the truth.

PAUL
Shout all you want. Who'll believe
you? You started all this, now it
can't be stopped. The faithful will
grab you and call you a blasphemer
and throw you in a fire.

JESUS
No, that wouldn't happen.

PAUL
How do you know? You don't know how
much people need God. You don't know
what a joy it is to hold the cross,
to put hope in the hearts of men, to
suffer, to be killed -- all for the
sake of Christ. Jesus Christ. Jesus
of Nazareth, Son of God. Messiah.

Jesus is listening intently now.

PAUL
(continuing)
Not you. Not for your sake.
(pause)
I'm glad I met you. Now I can forget
you. My Jesus is much more powerful.

Paul returns to the townsquare to preach. Jesus, exhausted,
dazed, starts back toward his house. The Guardian Angel
faithfully follows.

CUT TO:

EXT HOUSE - DAY

At the house, Mary and Martha wait for him. Jesus embraces
them. His Angel takes his hand. Jesus turns to his "family."

JESUS
Don't ever leave me. I'm happy here.

CUT TO:

EXT. MARY AND MARTHA'S - DAY

Jesus, now in his 50's, sits in the vine arbor beside the
house. His Guardian Angel, unchanged by time, sits beside
him. Jesus turns to him:

JESUS
Remember when Mary and I planted
these vines -- how many years have
we been eating these grapes?

ANGEL
I don't remember.

JESUS
(reflecting)
In my hands her hair became white...
Mary, white... in my hands... she
became white.

ANGEL
You know, this will all have to pass
soon.

JESUS
Why? Are you leaving me?

ANGEL
Yes. We have to go on. You've grown
old. You've done well. We've both
done well.

The Angel looks at Jesus who has suddenly aged to his 80's.
Jesus does not react to this transformation.

Now SOUNDS of yelling and screaming come from the street. A
woman's WAIL pierces the air. Jesus and the Angel turn to
look.

Mary and Martha, aged similarly, rush from the house. Jesus
and the Angel stand.

JESUS
What is it?

MARTHA
They're burning Jerusalem. The city
is destroyed.

MARY
The Romans are killing everyone.

Jesus takes them by their arms.

JESUS
Let's go inside.

They go inside, but Jesus peers out the entrance. We see
people running away. CAMERA tilts up to the sky, which is
red from the flames of Jerusalem. (SPECIAL EFFECT).

CUT TO:

INT. MARY AND MARTHA'S - NIGHT

Jesus lies dying. He is facing the entrance, in which we can
see glimmers of the still-burning sky.

Mary and Martha stand close around him. Jesus is in no pain.
He seems to be at peace.

Suddenly looming in the entranceway, silhouetted against the
red sky, is the figure of an old man. He starts down the few
stone steps into the room where Jesus lies. He is followed
by two other men. The Guardian Angel recognizes them instantly
and starts toward them.

PETER
Let us through. We're sent by God.
(to Jesus)
He told us you would show yourself
to us. He said you were dying.

JESUS
Is that Peter? I can't tell. That is
Peter. What happened to you?

PETER
The years.

JESUS
The years?
(he points)
This one I know. No matter how old
you get, I know. This is Philip. You
were the best of all shepherds,
because you had no sheep. They were
all in your head.

PHILIP
Have I changed so little in all this
time?

JESUS
Only for the better, I hope.

Jesus points to the mutilated man standing next to Peter.
The man's face is a mask of injury: he is missing his nose,
and one eye, and one ear.

JESUS
And you? They cut out your eye, your
ear. Your face... who are you?

JOHN
(bows)
Rabbi.

JESUS
John!

JOHN
The Romans tortured me and cut away
my face. I saw Jerusalem burn. I saw
the Ark of the Covenant taken from
the temple.

JESUS
The ark?

PHILIP
The Temple's destroyed, just as you
predicted.

PETER
There's somebody else. Outside.

PHILIP
Him you'll know. Be careful, he's
still angry.

Judas is silhouetted in the entranceway.

JESUS
Judas!
(Judas doesn't answer)
Judas, come in. Do you hear me? I've
missed you so much.

Now Judas advances slowly.

PETER
He hears you. He's just not going to
say anything.

JOHN
He's been fighting in Jerusalem.
Look at his hands. There's still
blood on them.

PHILIP
(warning protectively)
Judas...

The other disciples stand up.

PETER
(reprimanding)
Judas, the Master is speaking to
you. Answer him.

JUDAS
Traitor!

Everyone freezes.

JUDAS
Traitor. Your place was on the cross.
That's where God put you. But when
death got too close you ran away,
you got scared and ran away and hid
yourself in the life of some... man.
We did what we were supposed to do.
You didn't. You're a coward.

PETER
Don't you have any respect.

JUDAS
For him? He was supposed to save
man. But all he did is save himself.

JESUS
No. You just don't understand...

JUDAS
Understand? Rabbi, you broke my heart.
Sometimes I curse the day I ever met
you. We held the world in our hands.
Remember what you said to me? You
took me in your arms, do you remember?
And you begged me. "Betray me, betray
me. I have to be crucified. I have
to be resurrected to save the world."

The wounds in Jesus' hands and feet begin to bleed.

JUDAS
(continuing)
"I am the lamb," you said. "Death is
the door. Judas, my brother, don't
be afraid. Help me go through the
door." And I loved you so much I
went and betrayed you. But you...
you... what are you doing here? What
business do you have here? With women,
with children... what's good for a
man isn't good enough for God. Why
weren't you crucified?

Judas is crying.

PETER
Look at his wounds, Judas. He's
bleeding. You're hurting him, that's
enough.

JUDAS
He was going to be the New Covenant.
Now there's no more Israel.

JESUS
But my Guardian Angel...

JUDAS
Your Guradian Angel! Look at him!

All their eyes turn to the Guardian Angel. As they watch he
transforms into a death figure in a black monk's habit.

JUDAS
Satan.

Judas looks back at Jesus.

JUDAS
If you die this way, you die like a
man. If you die like that, you deny
God. Your Father. Then there's no
sacrifice. Then there's no salvation.

Jesus looks over at Mary and Martha, then back at the
disciples. They have disappeared.

He looks again, and for the last time, at Mary and Martha.
Now they are gone too.

He is left alone in the room with the death figure.

DEATH FIGURE
I told you we would meet again.

Jesus starts to try to pull himself up off the floor. The
death figure stands in front of him.

DEATH FIGURE
There's nothing you can do. You lived
this life. You accepted it. It's
over now. Just finish it and die
like a man.

But Jesus starts to crawl across the floor.

He crawls past the death figure, who watches, turning to see
Jesus leave through the entranceway.

CUT TO:

EXT. MARY AND MARTHA'S - NIGHT

Jesus crawls into the deserted street. The village is still.

There is a red glow in the distance: Jerusalem is burning.

He surveys the empty street. Blood still stains his hands
and feet.

The old man gets on his hands and knees in the middle of the
road. He lifts his head toward heaven.

JESUS
Abba, father, will you still listen
to me? Are you still there? Will you
listen to a selfish, unfaithful son?
I fought you when you called. I
resisted. I thought I knew more. I
didn't want to be your son. Can you
forgive me? I didn't fight hard
enough. I want to take your hand; I
want to save my fellow men. Father,
take me back. Make a feast. Welcome
me home. I want to be your son. I
want to pay the price. I want to be
crucified and rise again. I want to
be the Messiah.

CUT TO:

EXT. GOLGOTHA - DAY

Jesus is back on the cross, 37 years before. The CAMERA tracks
rapidly up his side stopping on his face.

He has regained his 33 year-old Nazarene form.

All that we have seen since he last cried out in pain has
taken place inside a second. He finished his cry.

JESUS
...lama sabachthani!

Jesus looks around, realizes where he is. The past thirty-
seven years have been a dream. He has resisted the last
temptation. He looks to heaven and says:

JESUS
It is finished.

THE END