Here is a simple readers’ theatre setting of Matthew 21:23-32, one of the suggested texts for September 25, 2011 (Proper 21A).
A Question of Authority
Narr: Jesus returned to the Temple and began to teach.
The chief priests and elders saw him and came to him,
Priest: By whose authority are you doing these things?
Who gave you the right?
Jesus: I’ll answer your question if you answer one of mine first.
Where did John get his authority to baptize?
Did he get it from heaven or from humans?
Narr: The chief priests and elders weren’t quite sure how to answer,
and so they talked it over amongst themselves.
Priest: If we say ‘from heaven,’ he’ll say to us,
‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’
But if we say ‘from humans’
we risk being mobbed by the crowd,
since they all believe John was a prophet.
Narr: Finally, they made up their minds and said to Jesus:
Priest: We don’t know.
Jesus: Well then I won’t tell you by whose authority I am doing these things.
But what do you think about this?
A man had two sons.
He came to the eldest and said,
"Son, I need you to go and work in the vineyard today."
"No, I don’t want to," the son replied.
But later on, he changed his mind and went to do
what his father has asked.
The father also asked his younger son to go work in the vineyard.
The boy immediately replied, “Yes, sir, I’ll go,”
but he didn’t actually go.
Which one of these two sons did his father’s will?
Priest: The first one did.
Jesus: I tell you the truth:
tax collectors and prostitutes will enter God’s kingdom ahead of you.
For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live,
but you didn’t believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did.
And even when you saw this happening,
you refused to believe him and repent of your sins.
For more worship resources related to this text, or other texts for September 25, 2011 (the fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost), click on Proper 21A in the list of “Labels” at the lower right side of the page.
For other readers’ theatre settings of scripture, click on Readers’ theatre in the list of “Labels” at the right.