The mission of the Wineskin Project has always been to take the Gospel texts as they are and try to make plausible and compelling plays out of them, without imposing any interpretive frameworks. In this week’s play about the parable of the Ten Virgins, I’ve broken that rule by ignoring the explicit statement at the beginning of Matthew 24 that Jesus is responding, in chapters 24 and 25, to a direct question about when the end of the world (and Jesus’ “coming”) would occur, and instead having the disciples continue to debate whether Jesus was talking about the end of the world or the anticipated revolt against Rome.
I did this for the following reasons:
In the end, the part of the equation above about creating plausible and compelling plays slightly outweighed the part about taking the texts as they are. I just couldn’t buy the idea of the disciples, in the real life situation they were in – finally in Jerusalem and apparently on the brink of the Kingdom, but thrown for a loop by Jesus’ sudden change in direction – asking him to tell them more about the end of the world.
The Gospel of Luke repeats most of this material, except that it sets it before the entry into Jerusalem and does not explicitly frame it as being about the end of the world.
Although the text says that “the disciples” asked him about the end of the world, it’s not such a big stretch to read that as “some disciples” or “a disciple”, and that’s largely what I did: imagining the disciples debating over what Jesus was talking about, with some of them holding the view that he was talking about the end of the world.
I’m hopping back on the wagon now, and will try never to fall off it again.