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BAPTIST3 6'2m*f RT: John the Baptist doubts Jesus, is beheaded

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

GUARD -- (enters carrying a sword with John in tow chained hand
and foot, crosses to podium) Good Evening. The reason I called
this press conference is to announce that this man, John son of
Zechariah will be executed immediately at the command of King
Herod.

REPORTER -- Can you tell us why John is being executed?

GUARD -- Why?

REPORTER -- Yes. What are the charges against him?

GUARD -- King Herod doesn't need any charges. He is a king. He
has the power of life and death over everyone in his kingdom. He
doesn't need an excuse.

REPORTER -- What I mean is, John has been in jail for several
months. Do you have any insight as to what prompted the command
to execute him now?

GUARD -- No. I'm just following orders. If the king says "bring
me the head of John the Baptizer on a platter", I do as I'm
told.

REPORTER -- Would you mind if we ask John a few questions?

GUARD -- A man who is about to die doesn't get a press
conference!

REPORTER -- Please. John has many disciples. They need closure.

GUARD -- Very well. But make it brief. (pushes John toward
podium)

REPORTER -- John, can you tell us what prompted this execution?

JOHN -- Actually, I first heard about the execution at the same
time you all did. This is news to me.

REPORTER -- Can you tell us why you were put in jail in the
first place?

JOHN -- Yes. I criticized King Herod for his adultery with his
brother's wife.

REPORTER -- Have they charged you with any other offense?

JOHN -- Not to my face. But I think it's more than just a
coincidence that King Herod is having a party tonight in which
his new wife and her daughter are the guests of honor. I'm quite
sure she had something to do with this decision.

REPORTER -- You don't seem terribly upset by the news that
you're about to lose your life.

JOHN -- Oh, I have been ready to die since my cousin began his
ministry.

REPORTER -- Your cousin?

JOHN -- Jesus of Nazareth. I knew from the start that my job was
to be the fulfillment of the Prophet Isaiah's prophecy. He
called me the voice of one calling in the wilderness preparing
the way of the Lord.

REPORTER -- Isn't it true that you recently doubted that you
might not actually be the fulfillment of that prophecy?

JOHN -- Yes. I did. But I don't anymore. I'm ready to die
knowing that I prepared the way of the Lord himself.

REPORTER -- So, you are quite sure that Jesus of Nazareth is God
himself in human flesh?

JOHN -- I'm certain of it.

REPORTER -- What makes you so certain now?

JOHN -- I sent messengers to Jesus while I was here in jail.
They asked Jesus if he was the annointed one or did I announce
the wrong man.

REPORTER -- And what was his answer?

JOHN -- Actually, in typical fashion, he didn't answer my
question at all. He merely quoted old testament scriptures.

REPORTER -- What scriptures were those?

JOHN -- Jesus quoted the scriptures that predicted that "The
blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are
cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is
preached to the poor."

REPORTER -- I'm not sure I understand the significance of these
scriptures.

JOHN -- Jesus did all of these things. He healed the blind and
the lame and the leper and the deaf, and he raised the dead to
life again. And, of course, his primary mission was to preach
the good news to the poor. In other words, Jesus was reminding
me that he had fulfilled the predictions about our messiah in
the scriptures to the letter. How could I doubt after hearing
that?

REPORTER -- What made you doubt Jesus in the first place?

JOHN -- Well, quite frankly, I bought into the teachings of the
Jewish elites. They said that the messiah would ascend the
throne and rule over Israel. But Jesus repeatedly told his
people that "His time had not yet come". And now it's looking
very much like Jesus will be executed himself before he takes
the throne.

REPORTER -- But the scriptures clearly state that the messiah
will definitely take the throne. Are you saying that the
scriptures are wrong?

JOHN -- I'm saying that the Jewish elites are wrong when they
assume that the messiah will take the throne BEFORE he saves us
from our sins.

REPORTER -- So, what you're saying is that the messiah will save
us from our sins BEFORE he becomes king?

JOHN -- Yes.

REPORTER -- And how will he save us from our sins?

JOHN -- He will die for our sins. That's why he came to earth as
a man.

REPORTER -- Wait a minute. If Jesus dies for our sins he can't
possibly take the throne!

JOHN -- Not this time.

REPORTER -- This time? Are you saying God is coming to earth
again?

JOHN -- That's what I'm saying and that's what the Jewish elites
missed. They assumed that the messiah would somehow do both in
one visit.

REPORTER -- But how can Jesus ascend to the throne if he's dead?

JOHN -- If Jesus is God in human flesh as I have said
repeatedly, he will rise from the grave.

REPORTER -- But that's impossible.

JOHN -- Exactly. Noone but God could do such a miraculous thing,
someone who has already shown us that he has the power to raise
people from the dead.

REPORTER -- Let's assume for a second that Jesus actually raises
from the dead. Will he immediately ascend to the throne of
Israel and rule Israel as king?

JOHN -- He could. But he won't.

REPORTER -- Why not?

JOHN -- God wants everybody all over the world to have a chance
to hear about the resurrection and submit to his will. When
Jesus comes again in the future, people will have the
opportunity to hear about his death and resurrection and see it
as proof that he is God in human flesh. They will have no
excuse. If they fail to submit to the authority of Jesus, they
will have to pay for their own sins.

REPORTER -- I assume that the reason you're so calm about your
impending execution is because you have already submitted to the
authority of Jesus.

JOHN -- Absolutely.

GUARD -- (grabs John's arm) Speaking of impending execution,
it's time. (exits with John)

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