ASCEND2  5'1m*f RT: Jesus ascends into Heaven, end times

(RT == Readers' Theater: requires little or no memorization,
little or no rehearsal. An indefinite number of reporters are
salted throughout the audience.)

PETER -- (enters wearing tunic and sandals, crosses by podium)

REPORTER -- Simon Son of Jonah?

PETER -- (stops, turns to audience) Yes?

REPORTER -- Are you the one they call Peter?

PETER -- Yes. What's this about?

REPORTER -- We're from the press corps. We'd like to ask you
some questions.

PETER -- Isn't there a rule against holding a press conference
in the temple courts?

REPORTER -- Just a few questions, please?

PETER -- (crossing back to podium) Very well.

REPORTER -- Can you comment on the disappearance of Jesus of

PETER -- Disappearance? You sound as if you don't know where he

REPORTER -- Some people say that he went into hiding because he
was found out.

PETER -- Found out?

REPORTER -- Some say that the real Jesus of Nazareth never rose
from the grave forty days ago, as you claimed he did. They say
that the man who calls himself Jesus is an impostor claiming to
be the resurrected Messiah.

PETER -- I can assure you from first hand knowledge that the man
who claims to be the resurrected messiah is Jesus himself.

REPORTER -- But how do you know?

PETER -- How do I know?! I spent almost every moment of the past
three years with Jesus. You might as well ask me how I know my
own mother is not an impostor. And if you don't believe me, ask
any of the 500 or so other people who saw Jesus after the

REPORTER -- Are you saying that 500 people saw Jesus after he
allegedly rose from the dead?

PETER -- Including all eleven of his remaining apostles. There's
no doubt in anyone's mind that Jesus rose from the dead. What
possible motive could we have for lying about it? If Jesus was a
phony, why would we keep telling people to trust him with their

REPORTER -- Well, if Jesus of Nazareth is not in hiding, where
did he disappear to?

PETER -- Heaven.

REPORTER -- Heaven? Are you saying that Jesus went to Heaven?

PETER -- Yes.

REPORTER -- And you saw him go?

PETER -- Me and dozens of his followers.

REPORTER -- You all saw him go to Heaven?

PETER -- Yes.

REPORTER -- Peter, do you see the implications of what you're
saying?! There have been only two incidents in history where a
man was seen ascending to Heaven: Enoch the son of Adam and Eve,
and the Prophet Elijah who ascended to Heaven in a firey

REPORTER -- Did Jesus ascend to Heaven in a firey chariot?

PETER -- No. His body just lifted off the ground and went up
until he was obscured by the clouds.

REPORTER -- Do you know WHY Jesus did that?

PETER -- That's where he came from. He just came to earth to
visit and when his visit was complete, he went home.

REPORTER -- So, you're saying he CAME from Heaven originally?

PETER -- That's not just what I'm saying. That's what Jesus has
been claiming all along. He claimed to be the only son of God

REPORTER -- But that would make Jesus equal to God!

PETER -- That's also what Jesus claimed to be.

REPORTER -- Isn't that blasphemous?!

PETER -- How is that blasphemous?

REPORTER -- It's one thing to claim to be the long awaited
messiah. It's another thing to claim to be equal with God!

PETER -- The Prophet Isaiah quoted God as saying "I, even I, am
the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior." Therefore,
anyone who claims to be our savior -- our messiah -- can't
possibly be anyone other than God himself.

REPORTER -- Let's assume for the sake of argument that Jesus was
both God and savior. Let's assume he came from Heaven. Didn't he
go back to Heaven early?

PETER --I'm not sure what you mean by early.

REPORTER -- Didn't he leave some work undone? What about the
Roman army?

PETER -- What about it?

REPORTER -- The messiah was supposed to drive the Roman Army
into the sea.

PETER -- Can you quote the scripture that promised the messiah
would drive the Roman Army into the sea?

REPORTER -- Well, no, I can't. But our religious leaders all
expected that the REAL messiah would do that.

REPORTER -- The scriptures did say that the messiah would set up
the kingdom of Israel again from the line of David. But Jesus
never set up the kingdom and he never sat on the throne.

PETER -- Look. The scriptures predicted that our messiah would
have two separate functions:

(counts on fingers)

One: the suffering servant messiah, who would suffer for our

And Two: the king messiah who would sit on the throne of David.
But you're assuming that the messiah would do both of those
functions on one visit.

REPORTER -- Are you saying that the messiah -- that Jesus -- is
coming down from Heaven again?

PETER -- That's exactly what he promised.

REPORTER -- Can you tell us when?

PETER -- Jesus wouldn't give us the day or the hour. He only
promised that he would not return until the good news of his
first visit is preached to every living soul on earth.

REPORTER -- That sounds like a daunting task. Why would Jesus
wait that long?

PETER -- It may not take that long. If everybody who hears the
good news tells just two other people per day, within twenty
days, one million people will hear the good news. That means
that potentially, Jesus could come back within a few weeks or
months if everybody does their job.

(holds up finger)

Now, if you'll excuse me, it's a long way back to Galilee. I
should get started.

REPORTER -- Thank you, Peter.

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