It is Palm Sunday and the crowds welcome Jesus with cries of "Hosanna" as he rides into Jersusalem.
Scene 2: Jesusalem
In the early days of the following week, Jesus continues to proclaim his message. But he is offending the established church and making an increasing number of enemies.
Scene 3: High Priest's house
Judas, one of Jesus' disciples, is becoming increasingly disillusioned that Jesus is not delivering what he has promised. He goes to see the High Priest, Caiaphas. They discuss the potential problems which Jesus is causing and reach the conclusion that it is in everyone's interest for Jesus to die.
Scene 4: The Last Supper
On the Thursday evening, Jesus and his disciples share a meal together. Jesus, aware of what is about to happen, compares the broken bread to his body, and the wine to his shed blood.
Scene 5: Mount of Olives
Immediately after the meal, Jesus goes alone to pray. Aware of the agony in store, he asks if there is any alternative. But he accepts that God's way is the right way.
Scene 6: Gethsemane
Coming down from the Mount of Olives, Jesus enters the Garden of Gethsemane. It is late in the evening but a crowd appear (urged on by the religious leaders of the day) to make false accusations against Jesus. He is arrested and taken to appear before Caiaphas.
Scene 7: High Priest's house
By now it is the early hours of Friday morning. Outside the High Priest's house Peter is waiting by the fire. The maid recognises him as a disciple of Jesus, but Peter denies it. Caiaphas mocks Jesus' ministry and then looks to false witnesses to testify against him. When Jesus claims to speak God's word, Caiaphas regards this as blasphemy, deserving the punishment of death. The finale of Part I reminds us that the baby of Bethlehem became the man of Calvary, but now reigns on high and will soon return to establish his throne in a new heaven and earth.
Scene 8: The Praetorium
Calvary's hill is a dark and sombre place used for executions. But before Jesus can be executed the High Priest needs the permission of Pilate, the Roman governor who has authority to administer the death penalty. Crowds tell twisted stories of what Jesus has been doing. But Pilate's wife has had a disturbing dream and warns Pilate to have nothing to do with the scheme. Pilate attempts to discover the truth. He cannot find any justification for the death penalty but gives in to the demands of the crowd for a quiet life. Jesus is led away, tormented, and hung on a cross.
Scene 9: Calvary
Peter and Mary, observing Jesus suffering on the cross, ask the inevitable question: "Why?" The chorale which follows explains that appearances are deceptive. What looks like defeat is in truth victory, and that as a result there is a new hope for all.
Scene 10: Resurrection
On Sunday morning Jesus' friends bring spices to anoint his body. But he is not in the tomb. And the stone which blocked the entrance has been moved. An angel appears asking: "Why seek the living among the dead. he is not here. he is risen." The finale speaks of a bright new dawning day.