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WISEMEN2 6'1m*f RT: Three wise men bring gifts to the messiah

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

WISEMAN -- (enters wearing tunic, headdress and sandals, crosses
to podium) Good Morning. I am the spokesman for the caravan from
the east. I bring you greetings from the province of Babylonia,
formerly known as Babylon. The reason I called this press
conference is to congratulate you citizens of Israel on the
coming of your messiah.

REPORTER -- Are you saying that the long awaited messiah of
Israel has arrived?!

WISEMAN -- Yes. I thought everyone knew. I was told by the
shepherds that the angels of God announced the arrival to all.

REPORTER -- Not to us! Who is he?! Where is he?!

WISEMAN -- This is all very strange that I, a foreigner should
be telling you Israelis where to find your own messiah.

REPORTER -- Are you saying that we should know where the messiah
would arrive in Israel?

WISEMAN -- We Babylonians knew. Why wouldn't you?

REPORTER -- Where? Where is the messiah now?

WISEMAN -- I'm not sure where he is now. But I can tell you
where he was born.

REPORTER -- Born?! Are you saying that the messiah of Israel was
born as a baby?!

WISEMAN -- Yes, of course. He was born of a virgin as your own
prophet Isaiah has predicted.

REPORTER -- How is it that you Babylonians know so much about
our messiah and our prophets?

WISEMAN -- We... everyone in our caravan is a follower of your
prophet Belteshazzar.

REPORTER -- Israel never had a prophet named Belteshazzar.

WISEMAN -- I believe his Hebrew name was Daniel. He was prime
minister of Babylon during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar and again
during the reign of King Belshazzar.

REPORTER -- How did you know where to look for the baby?

WISEMAN -- Your prophet Micah predicted the messiah would be
born in the city of David.

REPORTER -- So, the baby was born in Bethlehem?

WISEMAN -- That's correct.

REPORTER -- How did you know when he would be born?

WISEMAN -- Well, we had a rough idea from our prophet... Daniel.
Daniel predicted that the Babylonian empire would be conquered
by the Medes and Persians, and that the Medes and Persians would
be conquered by the Greeks and then the Greeks would be
conquered by the Romans.

REPORTER -- Where are all these predictions listed?

WISEMAN -- In the book of Daniel. Don't you people take your
prophets seriously?

REPORTER -- What made you think that the messiah would be born
during the reign of the Romans?

WISEMAN -- According to the prediction of Daniel, the Romans are
the last major world power.

REPORTER -- But if the baby was just born, how did you know
exactly when during the Roman reign to come to Israel?

WISEMAN -- The Lord God of Israel gave us a sign in the heavens.

REPORTER -- What kind of sign?

WISEMAN -- A bright star on the horizon. It was not part of any
constellation. It appeared suddenly in the sky over what from
our direction looked like Israel. So, we came to Israel.

REPORTER -- Did the star lead you to Bethlehem?

WISEMAN -- There were so many small villages in the area that we
were unsure which one was Bethlehem. So, we went to Jerusalem to
ask the religious leaders there where the messiah was to be
born. They pointed us here to Bethlehem.

REPORTER -- Were the religious leaders as surprised as we were
that the messiah was coming?

WISEMAN -- Surprisingly, yes, they were. In fact, the king of
the Jews... I can't remember is name...

REPORTER -- Herod?

WISEMAN -- Yes. Herod. King Herod seemed to be alarmed.

REPORTER -- Alarmed? Are you saying that King Herod was upset?

WISEMAN -- Yes. But I don't know why. The messiah is the savior
of all mankind. That's good news. Why would the king be upset?

REPORTER -- According to the predictions of the prophets, our
messiah will be from the line of King David. Perhaps King Herod
feels threatened by the appearance of another king.

REPORTER -- Can you confirm that the messiah is indeed born into
the family of King David?

WISEMAN -- Yes. Yes, of course. Apparently, both the mother and
the father of the baby can trace their family trees back to King
David.

REPORTER -- Did King Herod send a representative to welcome the
messiah?

WISEMAN -- No. That's another odd thing. King Herod asked us to
stop by his palace on our way home to tell him if we'd found the
baby.

REPORTER -- Will you do that?

WISEMAN -- No. After what you've said about Herod feeling
threatened, I think we'll bypass him on our way home.

Now, I suppose we'll be on our way... (turns)

REPORTER -- One more question, if you please?

WISEMAN -- (turns) Yes?

REPORTER -- There are some reports that there were only THREE
wise men from the east visiting this area. There are obviously
dozens of you. Can you tell us how the rumor got started that
there were only three of you?

WISEMAN -- Yes. I suppose it came from the gifts we gave to the
messiah. There were only three gifts.

REPORTER -- What were they?

WISEMAN -- In keeping with the teachings of your prophets,
the first is the gift of gold to acknowledge that he is a king.
The second is the gift of incense to acknowledge his priesthood.

REPORTER -- I'm sorry, you're mistaken. The priests among us are
from the tribe of Levi. If the baby is born into the line of
King David he is from the tribe of Judah.

WISEMAN -- According to the writings of the prophets, this baby
will be a priest forever on the order of Melchizedek, a kingly
priest.

REPORTER -- You mentioned THREE gifts. What was the third?

WISEMAN -- It was the gift of myrrh.

REPORTER -- I happen to know that myrrh is a burial spice. Why
would you want to give burial spices to a baby?

WISEMAN -- Because above all else, the messiah is the savior. In
order to save his people from their sins, the savior must die
for the sins of his people.

Now, if you will excuse me, we have a long trip back home.

(exits)

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