The Magi

A Journey of Faith


BY Andre A. A. Lederer

©2001, 2002




Important:  Please do not remove this page from copy.  Please see note.


We believe that Teachers are people of integrity and will act honestly as representatives of their church or institution.  We trust you to send a payment if you decide to use one of our plays or a portion thereof.    
Payment amount is entirely up to you (
pay as you have been blessed).  Please include the name of the play that you use with your payment.  Please send all payments to the following person and address.  

Andre Lederer
35 Fieldstone Bay
Winnipeg Manitoba Canada
R2Y 0R1

Other plays of this type can be found at







Staging Information:



20 min



11 to 14 as two characters can be combined into one in various scenes.



No special lighting is required



Use microphones as needed



Wise men costumes, king costume,  2 Roman guard costumes, a costume for Mary and Joseph and three costumes for average citizens.





One large and two small scrolls. The Astronomer’s scroll could be large pieces of brown rolled up paper.  If you want to go for a more rugged and worn look, roll up the paper and light the ends on fire (one end at a time) and blow them out quickly.  This will give the paper an ancient look.  You may want to crumple and smooth out the paper several times to make it look even more worn.  The Roman guards could have broom sticks with pointed cardboard tips for spears.



A cardboard tower that the astronomer uses for an observatory could be pieces of cardboard attached to the side of a step ladder.  The cardboard could be painted with brick-like look.  The astronomer could climb the ladder (which is in behind the cardboard façade) so that his shoulders are just above the top of the façade.


Herod’s Throne:

This could be a decorated chair with a red cloth rolled out in front of it.


Open Fire:

Using a heavy cardboard base glue (with a glue gun) wood pieces together in the form of a teepee.  Make sure there is enough space in the center of the pieces that you can place a flashlight.  Wrap red cellophane around the end of the flashlight to make it look like the glow of a fire. 


Video Projector: (optional)

If you have the technology available you can use a projection system to project the image of stars on a screen above the actors heads.  In the courtyard scene, instead of stars you can project some pillars and a roof line.  You could also use painted backdrops.  When it is time for the star to appear, you may want to change to a slide that includes an image of the new star.  However if you simply have the astronomers look up somewhere over the audience and pretend to see the star it leaves the appearance of the star to the audience’s imagination.  Since we really do not know what the star looked like it may be better this way.  In the second and forth scene the projection could be of an overcast night sky.  However in the forth scene when Hisham sees the star once again the sky can turn from a overcast sky to a starry sky.




Narrator:  As you may already know our play tonight is called “The Magi, A Journey of Faith.”  Before we begin the performance, there are a few things that I’d like to mention about this story that you may not be aware of.


First, contrary to popular belief, the Magi did not come to the manger the night that Jesus was born.  Rather, about two years after his birth they arrived at Joseph and Mary’s house in Bethlehem. 


It was also believed that there were only three Magi that came to worship Jesus.  This belief was probably based on the fact that there were three types of gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh.   However, most scholars agree that were many Magi that traveled in a large caravan.  This would explain the great commotion that was created upon their arrival in Jerusalem.


Finally, many scholars believe that the star that appeared to the Magi was not always visible to them.  This may have simply been the result of cloud cover or because of supernatural reasons.


And so with that said, I hope you will enjoy our play…


Note:  In this play you have a choice of two openings.  You may choose the opening with three women or three men conversing. Your choice may depend upon the number of male verses female people you have.


Scene 1:  Back In The East


The setting for this first scene is in a country to the east of Israel where the star that signified the birth of the King of the Jews was first seen.  Here at the top of the observatory an astronomer is examining the sky and comparing it with his own map and records.


Three men/women (depending upon the opening you choose) enter the stage a distance away from the astronomer and are speaking with one another.


Three Female Opening


Adira:  So, did you hear the latest about Devra?


Basimah:  Oh stars, what did she do now? (The ladies get into a huddle)


Adira:  Well (thinking for a moment) maybe I shouldn’t say, that would be gossiping.


Cassi:  Oh,…ya…ok…(pause)


Basimah:  I guess…(The women exit the huddle)


Adira:  (Not able to contain herself) Well anyway, (The Women quickly enter into a huddle again) Devra’s sister-in-law’s best friend told my hairdresser that Devra went out and bought herself a new dress.


Basimah and Cassi:  (intently listening) Ya


Adira:  Well, the dress is so short you can almost see her ankles.


Basimah:  Oh, that’s so inappropriate.


Cassi:  And she’s no spring chicken, she’s almost 23. 


Adira:  Let me finish!  She put on some of that new perfume, you know, midnight in Moab. 


Basimah:  Ooh, that expensive stuff.


Cassi:  Then she strutted right past the young men at the camel stable.  Well all the men’s mouths dropped open so far, you could see their tonsils.


Basimah:  I can just see it, all those men gawking at her.


Cassi:  Well, that’s Devra for you.


Basimah:  But you know, as silly as it is staring at Devra, I think it even sillier staring at what he’s staring at.  I mean, just look at that guy!


Cassi:  Ooh, he’s kinda cute.


Basimah:  Cute?! How about Pathetic!  All he does every night is stare at an unchanging sky.  It’s amazing what some people get paid for.


Cassi:  Well, they say that the book he’s looking in tells about a star or something that will appear when the King of the Jews is born.


Basimah:  Ya right, how can anyone put their faith in a book that’s so old?  I’m sure it’s been rewritten a number of times. 


Adira:  Ya, I know what you mean, anyone who believes that stuff really needs a crutch.


Basimah:  I’m just getting tired of the whole thing… [yelling to the astronomer]  Hey star boy…How’s the air up there?


Cassi:  Shhh are you crazy!  You’ll get us into trouble.


Adira: Ya, don’t you know that he reports directly to the king!


The astronomer ignores the comment and then strains his neck to look at the stars directly over his head.


Basimah: (noticing the astronomer straining his neck) (Rolling the words Hey and rubberneck together) Hey…rubber neck, I know the name of a good chiropractor if you need it?


Cassi:  That’s it, I’m leaving.


Adira: I’m coming with you…(walking off stage) And I thought Devra was crazy!


Adira and Cassi quickly exit the stage.


Basimah: Ah…come on girls (she says as she’s leaving) I was just getting started. (Basimah leaves following the others)


Three Male Opening


Obed:  So, did you guys take in the game yesterday?


Omar:  Are you kidding, is there anything more important?


Obed:  Did you see that Barakah guy?


Makish:  See him, how could you miss him, he’s as big an elephant!  And what an arm, he could throw that ball farther than I can through a pebble.


Omar:  Are you kidding, he could throw a camel farther than you could throw a pebble!


Pause in conversation for a few moments


Obed:  Yeah, that was a really good event wasn’t it?


Makish:  Yeah, there’s nothing better than watching a good competition. 


Omar: [looking toward the Astronomer] Well, it’s better than watching what he’s watching.  At least we see some action; all he does every night is look up at an unchanging sky.  It’s amazing what some people can get paid for.


Makish: Hey, do you know what they say about people that look up at the sky all the time.


Obed:  What?


Makish:  They say they begin to see stars!  Ah ha ha…get it…see stars…


Omar: That’s not funny, that’s just not funny.


Obed:  Well, actually, they say that the book he’s looking in tells about a star or something that will appear when the queen of uhh…Ethiopia is born.


Makish:  Queen of Ethiopia?!  That shows me what you know!  Its not when the Queen of Ethiopia is born, sheesh, it’s when the King of Ethiopia is born.


Omar:  No, no…I know about the story. A star is supposed to appear when the King of the Jews is born. 


Makish:  Ya, uhh… that’s what I meant.


Omar:  What I'd like to know is how can anyone put their faith in a book that’s so old?  I’m sure it’s been rewritten a few times already. 


Obed:  Ya, I know what you mean, anyone who believes that stuff really needs a crutch.


Omar:  I’m just getting tired of the whole thing… [yelling to the astronomer]  Hey star gazer…how’s the air up there?!


Obed:  Shhh are you crazy!  You’ll get us into trouble


Makish: ya, don’t you know that he reports directly to the king!


The astronomer ignores the comment and then strains his neck to look at the stars directly over his head.


Omar: (noticing the astronomer straining his neck) (Rolling the words Hey and rubberneck together) Hey…rubber neck, I know the name of a good chiropractor if you need it?

Obed:  Man, that’s it, I’m getting out of here


Makish: I’m right behind you…


Obed and Makish quickly exit the stage.


Omar: Ah…come on guys (he says as he’s leaving) I’m just getting started. (Omar leaves following the others)


This is where the end of the first two options continue.


The Astronomer continues to look up at the sky and check his book…then, all of a sudden, a brilliant white shining star appears.  The astronomer glimpses at the sky and looks down again and pauses for a moment in disbelief.  Then sharply turns his head toward the sky and looks at the new star.  He quickly rubes his eyes and stares at the star again and compares it to his map.  His hands begin to tremble as he holds his map.  The astronomer runs over to where his co-worker is sleeping and shakes him vigorously.


Astronomer:  (Excited) Tesfa, Tesfa wake up, wake up! 


Tesfa: What, what…


Astronomer:  Tesfa, get up, Look…the star, the star!


Tesfa:  (Beginning to get up quickly and yet perturbed) The star?  This better not be one of your (as Tesfa is speaking he sees the star and his voice gets quieter and weaker) silly tricks… (Tesfa’s knees buckle and he begins to tremble)

Tesfa:  (regains his composure) It’s the star!  (Tesfa grabs the scroll from Astronomer and runs up the tower to check the map) 


Astronomer:  (excited) Well...Well is it?


It is true! It is true! It is just as it is written in the scripture!  (Tesfa, extremely excited, grabs the map and hurries down the lookout).  Come! Come, we must tell the others! (Tesfa begins to exit.  If conditions allow, have Tesfa Run down the center Isle of the building)


Astornomer:  Tesfa (pointing to Tesfa’s cloke that he left where he was lying)  your cloke.


Tesfa:  (Excited)Forget my cloak, we must find the others, we must go to Jerusalem!


Scene II  On the way to Jerusalem

A few weeks into there Journey the Magi have stopped for the night.  Three of the Magi gather around a fire and discuss the Journey.


Hosni, the oldest Magi, limps onto the stage holding his hip.


Hosni:  (In an aching tone) So, how many days have we been traveling now?


Acbar:  (Checking his records) Two months two weeks and a day. (He says this in a very unenthusiastic way as he is already weary of the journey and not convinced that they’re doing the right thing).


Hisham:  (Encouraging) It’s good to have you along Acbar; you keep a good record of our journey.


Hosni:  (Complaining) My head tells me that we’ve only been on the journey for a few months but I’m having a hard time convincing these old bones of mine.  Who knew that this journey would be so rugged…crossing over mountains and rivers, up and down...  I thought the Romans were famous for their roads, I don’t see any roads!  Oi.


Acbar:  (Sharply) Have you men seen Tesfa around? I’d like to talk to him about the star.


Hisham:  Yes, he’s right over there by the camels


Acbar:  Where, I can’t see him


Hosni:  Over there, (he points his finger) he must be wearing his Camel – flage (to be pronounced like camouflage)  ah ha…get it? 


Acbar:  (Stands abruptly to his feet) Look, I don’t know how you can be joking at a time like this.  We’ve been out here forever!  Hot in the day and cold at night, and to top things off we haven’t seen the star for over three weeks!  Is Tesfa sure about that star?  What if it was something else?


Hisham:  (Surprised at Acbar’s attitude) Acbar!


Acbar:  Don’t you think that if this journey was of God, it would be smoother?


Hisham:  (Stands up, walks over to Acbar and puts his hand on his shoulder) Brother, God never promised us that this journey would be easy, but He did promise that the journey would be worthwhile. (Pause)  Look, Acbar, I know it’s been tough going, and that we haven’t seen the star for some time, but we must continue to walk the same way walked before we had seen the star.


Acbar:  What do you mean?


Hisham:  What I mean is that now is the time that we must walk by faith and not by sight.  We can count ourselves blessed for we have seen the star with our own eyes but blessed is the one that has not seen and yet believes.


Acbar:  (sighing) Deep inside I know that what your saying is right, but I find it hard to hope in that which I cannot see.


Hisham:  But Acbar, hope in something that is seen is no longer hope.


Acbar:  (ponders for a while) …I guess so.


Hosni:  (comes to the side of Acbar) Acbar, I know that I joke around sometimes but don’t get me wrong, my heart is set and I’m not turning back.  As long as God gives me breath and these old bones of mine stay together, I’m going to Jerusalem.


Acbar:  (pausing) And I…I, will be right beside you.  Thank you brothers, (Acbar puts his arms around the shoulders of both men and hugs them squeezing them tightly).  I wish I had half your wisdom.


Hosni:  (still being squished) And I wish I had a quarter of your strength.


Acbar lets go of the embrace.


Hisham:  Come on; (Hisham begins to walk off stage) let’s get some sleep, tomorrow’s another day.


The men begin to walk off stage.


Hosni:  Yes, (holding his side and limping slightly) and I hope it all down hill, Oi!



Scene III  King Herod Hears about the Magi:


Two armed guards are standing at ease on either side of Herod's throne as the king is not in the room. 


Guard 1:  Can you believe that Herod had his wife executed?


Guard 2:  His wife and his two sons.


Guard 1:  I’d rather be Herod’s dog than a member of his family.


Guard 2:  As long as his dog isn’t a threat to his throne, it will probably survive.


Guard 1:  I wouldn’t count on it.


Herod opens the door and enters the room.  The guards straighten to attention.  Before he closes the door he yells back (towards off stage)


Herod:  (shouting) I don’t care if he’s 92, I said off with his head!


Herod walks toward his throne glaring at the guards as if to provoke them and then sits down. 


Herod:  (mumbling to himself) what’s so tough about carrying out an order?  I’ll carry it out myself next time.


A messenger runs on stage and kneels before Herod.  (The messengers could run down the isle of the church (building) and half way down they could start shouting).


Messenger:  King Herod…King Herod! 


When Herod motions for him to arise, he gets up and begins to relate his message.


Messenger:  King Herod, your majesty, a large caravan from the east has come into Jerusalem. 


Herod:  Yes, so…


Messenger:  Your majesty this is no ordinary caravan, these are wise men, Magi, and they are asking where the King of the Jews is.


Herod:  King of the Jews huh, We’ll that a strange way to refer to me but none the less, send them in.


Messenger:  With all due respect your majesty, (hesitantly) it’s not you they are seeking.


Herod:  What?


Messenger: Your Majesty, they are looking for a child.


Herod:  A child? A child king?!


Messenger:  King of the Jews sir, in accordance with the prophecy in the Jews scripture.


Herod:  Is this some kind of a joke?


Messenger:  I only wish your Majesty, all of Jerusalem is troubled by their arrival!


Herod:  Something’s not right here (Herod begins to chew his bottom lip nervously)…wait a minute, I know, this must be some sort of plan to depose me isn’t it!  This is all about insurrection!  (Looking at the messenger) And you’re in on all this aren’t you?


Messenger:  No your majesty, I mean, there’s no insurrection.


Herod:  Let me tell you something, there is only one king around here and that’s me.  (Becoming emotionally unstable) I am the only king around here! (He looks at the guards and the messenger and then at the audience)  I am the only king!!!


Herod:  You (pointing to guard 2) do you know where this child king is?  Do you know where he was born?


Guard 2:  No sir, I don’t…


Herod:  Then go, the both of you, go and assemble all the scribes and chief priests I must know where this child was born.  I must find this child!


Guard 2:  Consider it done your Majesty.  (The guards leaves immediately)


Herod:  And you (pointing to the messenger) bring those mad men Magi into the courtyard, I will deal with them there.


Messenger:  Yes your Majesty


Everyone leaves and Herod stays behind for a moment


Herod:  (looking out past the audience)  I am the only king around here, I will not share my throne with anyone!


The lights go off, end of scene.



Scene IV  Herod Meets the Magi in the Courtyard:


The Guards leads the Magi into the courtyard and another guard awaits their arrival.  When the Magi are assembled, the guard awaiting their arrival gives an announcement.  If you are using a video projector see the notes at the front of the script.


Guard 3:  Thank you for coming, King Herod will be with you shortly.


Herod enters the room through a door with his back towards the Magi.  He shuts the door firmly but not quite slamming it.  After shutting the door he pauses for a moment and then turns around with a surprisingly pleasant but phony demeanor.


Herod:  (With a big phony smile) Friends, welcome, I am so pleased that you have come.  I hope your trip has been a pleasant one. 


Hosni: (holding his hip and about to expound on his aches a pains) Well actually…


Herod:  (Interrupting Hosni) I have heard that you are seeking the Jewish Messiah; tell me, why did you come at this particular time?


Hisham:  King Herod, My name is Hisham, as you are aware, my brothers and I have been on a long journey and now seek its conclusion.  We knew that we needed to come to Jerusalem when his star appeared to us when we were back in the east. 


Tesfa:  The appearance of this star signified the birth of the King of the Jews which is in accordance with our ancient writings.


Herod:  A star you say.  At what time exactly did you see this star appear?


Acbar:  King Herod, here is a copy of our travel log it explains everything in here. (Acbar hands the scroll to Herod)


Tesfa:  King Herod, as Hisham mentioned to you already, we still seek him who is born King can you tell us where the King is?


Herod:  (In a furious outburst) I am the only K…!!!  (Herod stops himself and regains his composure)  That is to say, I have taken the liberty to contact the Jewish Scribes and Chief priests about this very matter.  They have informed me that the King (he has a difficult time spitting out the word “king”) you are looking for is to be born in Bethlehem of Judea for so it is written, (he holds out a small scroll) they have written down the scripture for me here, (Herod begins to read from the scroll) “And you Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for out of you shall come forth a ruler, who will shepherd my people Israel”  (Herod rolls up the scroll)  So then go and make careful search for the young child; and when you have found him bring me word that I too may come and worship him.


Hisham:  Yes, we will... thank you King Herod.


Herod:  Good luck to you.  (then turning to the guards)  Guards!  (This signals the guards to leave before Herod).


Herod exits with his guards before him.


Acbar:  Oh, brothers, I hate to say this but I‘m beginning to believe that our journey was in vane after all. 


Tesfa:  (surprised) Acbar!


Hosni:  Look, Tesfa, I’m afraid that I too am thinking Acbar may be right, for how else can it be that no one in all of Jerusalem knows about the birth of their King?  Maybe the star was something else…or maybe it meant something else.


Tesfa:  I confess that I’m shocked that no one knows about the birth of their king and I know that we have not seen star for a while, but I am sure that the star could not have been anything else… (Turning to Hisham) Hisham, what do we do now?  (All eyes of the party are on Hisham)


Hisham:  (Gazing upward to think) I don’t really know, I guess I… I…


Hisham has a shocked look upon his face as he sees the star in the star.  (If using an overhead to project a skyline, the video could change from a cloudy sky to a starry one).  The others notice that something is terribly wrong with Hisham and begin to ask what’s wrong.  Hisham then raises a shaky hand and points to the star.  At first, everyone is speechless but then excitement and jubilation quickly follow.  Here, as the scripture says “they rejoice with great exceeding joy”.


Tesfa:  Look, it’s the star!


Other 1:  it is moving!


Other 2: Where is it going?


Other 3: It's going west!


Tesfa: It’s going to Bethlehem!


Hisham:  Come, we must follow that star!


All begin to rush off but Hosni trips, falls and sprains his ankle.  Acbar turns back to see what is wrong with him. 


Acbar:  Hosni, what’s wrong?


Hosni:  I guess these old bones couldn’t make it after all…but you go, go to Bethlehem, I will not be able to make it.


Acbar:  Not if I can help it old man… (Acbar bends down and picks up Hosni and carries him off stage.


Hosni:  God give you strength…


Scene IV Joseph and Mary’s House:


Joseph is sitting on a chair outside of his home.  Mary exits her house and sits down with Joseph. 


Joseph:  How’s Jesus?


Mary: He’s fine, He just went to sleep.


Joseph:  Boy, It’s hard to believe that he’ll soon be two.


Mary:  Yes, it seems like only yesterday that He was lying in that manger.


Joseph:  It’s hard for me to imagine how God let the Messiah be born in such humble circumstances.


Mary:  What I can’t get over is that the announcement of his birth did not come to the religious leaders but unto a group of shepherds. 


Joseph:  Ya, but I’d rather be lead by those shepherds than the religious leaders of Israel.


Mary:  Yes, I guess so…Say, what about the time at the temple when Jesus was consecrated.  How Simeon and Anna both knew that our son was the Messiah.


Mary:  Yes, I’ll never forget that… (Mary pauses and reflects for ma moment) (reflecting) Huh…


Joseph:  What are you thinking? 


Mary:  I’m thinking about what the angel said to me before Jesus was born.  He said “you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever and His kingdom will have no end.


Joseph:  I still cannot understand why God has chosen us to bring up his Messiah…what a wonderful honor.


Mary:  Yes, and here we are now, living in a simple home in Bethlehem.  Did you ever think that we would end up living here?


Joseph:  Not really, but you know, it’s really a pretty nice city.  I think it will be a good place to raise Jesus…(Mary nods in approval).


Mary stands and begins to walk to the front door of the house.


Joseph:  Were are you going?


Mary:  I’m just going to check on Jesus, I’ll be right back.


Joseph:  Ok.


Mary enters into the house.


After a few moments Joseph notices a bright light moving toward his home.


Joseph:  (looking up at the star) What is that?  A star?  It’s moving this way…Is this an angel? (He gazes more intently and stands up and walks backwards until he comes against the door of his home)


The Magi enter onto the scene and speak to Joseph.


Hisham: (approaches Joseph)  Is…is this the home?


Joseph: This is…my home


Hisham:  Is this the home of the King?  (Realizing that Joseph needs a little more Information) We are Magi we had seen the King’s star when we were back in the East and then it guided us here and behold the star now stands above your home.  Please tell us, is this the home of the King of the Jews?


Joseph:  Yes, this is the home of the King.


Joseph:  (Opens the door to his home) Mary, we, ah…have company.  (Joseph turns to the Magi)  Please come in if you like.


Hisham enters the house.  At this time, Acbar and Hosni enter the scene with Acbar carrying Hosni Acbar places Hosni on Joseph’s chair and stands beside Him.  Then Hisham comes back out of the house with Mary.


Hisham:  Men, bring the gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh! (three of the Magi step forward with the gifts and kneel before the door).  Brothers, our journey has concluded, (Hisham raises his hands to the heaven) THE KING OF THE JEWS IS BORN!


Hosni:  (Stands up and raises he hands toward Heaven) Praise be to the God of Israel!  (Hosni falls down to worship and the others follow suit).


Turn the lights off to signal the end of the play.


After the Audience finishes their applause, have one of the actors or the narrator address the audience.


Narrator:  This concludes our performance; we hope you have enjoyed it.  However we would not like you to leave with out reflecting upon two aspects of our play.  First consider the Magi, they were wise men indeed.  They put in extraordinary effort to know about that which is most important, God.  At great personal expense they sought relentlessly for the King of the Jews and when they found Him, they worshiped Him. 

Now consider King Herod.  What a contrast he is to the Magi.  Herod was self centered and did what ever pleased him.  He was also determined not to give up his throne, not even the long awaited Messiah, Jesus Christ. 

And so we ask you tonight, who do you want to be like?  Will you be like Herod and remain on the throne of your life?  Or will you be like the wise men and seek out God’s Son, the one who came to die for your sins?  We hope that you will be a wise person and give the throne of your life to Jesus Christ.  Receiving Jesus Christ as your savior is the greatest gift that you could receive.

On behalf of our class hope that you will have a wonderful and meaningful Christmas.