Ideas for use of story – week 22nd March
John 9.1-41: Jesus heals a man who was born without sight.
Sense the story
Invite the children to close their eyes and to imagine what it must have been like for the man born blind in a society that had neither sympathy nor a means of helping him. Listen to the sounds they can hear in the room. Then ask them to imagine they can hear Jesus’ voice talking, as you read from the passage. Encourage the children to keep their eyes closed as they hear the story of what happened to a man who could not see, focusing on all their senses except sight.
READ STORY FROM ENCLOSED SHEET OR USE A CHILDREN’S BIBLE
Imagine now meeting Jesus – you can’t see him, but he is in front of you and you can hear his voice. He is calling you, seeking you out. He touches your eyes. He puts something on them. He asks you to wash in the pool. Why did he seek you out? Why did he heal you? After a pause, invite people to open their eyes. You are now face to face with Jesus. What do you see? What do you say?
· Why wasn’t everybody happy when the man could see again?
· Is it always easy to share in someone else’s happiness?
· How can we learn to see what God is doing in our world?
Young people could think about these questions:
· What do we know and what facts are missing about the man in this passage?
· Why do you think Jesus used mud?
· What were the responses to Jesus’ action? What might your response be if you saw something like this or read about it in a newspaper?
Notes on the Bible story for parents and carers
· When Jesus encountered this blind man, he had an opportunity to help his followers (as well as the man himself) grow in faith. At the time, any kind of disability would have been thought of as resulting from a sin in the family and therefore it brought shame on the man and his relatives.
· This attitude, as well as his physical limitation, restricted him and stopped him from being the person he was able to be.
· Jesus put mud on the man’s eyes. Jesus used the methods of a traditional healer, preferring mud over medicine. After this, he told the man to wash in the pool of Siloam (meaning ‘sent’) – the name is also symbolic as it signifies Jesus as the one sent by God.
· Once he was healed, suddenly the man could see. For a man who has never seen before, his sight is nothing short of a new creation. As the story unfolds, the man seems to have an increasing strength of faith. He starts by being quite timid and ends up ‘knowing’ that this was Jesus, someone sent by God.
· The readings today demonstrate that seeing opens us up to light and life, as in Ephesians 5 where the life of faith is associated with the shining light of Christ. If God can help us to physically see when we couldn’t before, what other possibilities does he open up for us in the light and life of faith?