Acting out parables, part two, and more

boy in church attireThe little boy in the picture likes to play "dress up" as all children do. Wearing dad's tie, he imagines he is grown up. Playing "dress up" in Sunday school is a good way to teach and to have fun.

Luke 17:5-19 provides a good passage of Scripture for children to act out. There are two stories: the first a parable and the second an event in the life of the Lord. You can teach that certain Bible stories are told by Jesus to explain something, and others are about things that really happened. Use the word parable, and quiz them later to see if they remember which type of story the parable is.

A contrast is presented in Luke 17. First, Jesus tells his disciples a story about a servant and master. You could say, The servant was working hard and it would not make sense for the master to call him away from his work to give him a nice meal, would it? Instead, after he finishes what he is doing, the servant must fix supper for the Master. In the Bible parable, the Master made sure the servant had a good supper after the servant had waited on the him.

Explain that we need to always remember we are God's servants, and not expect him to do special favors for us, but instead, do the work he gives each of us to do, and always remember that he is our Master. One job every child has is to mind his parents!

Now, for the contrast… After telling this parable, as Jesus traveled along, he entered a village (town or place) and ten men with a terrible disease cried out to him from a distance, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" You could say, What do you think they wanted Jesus to do for them? They wanted to be healed from their skin disease that was so terrible, they were not allowed to be around anyone but others who had the same disease. That's why they had to cry to Jesus from a distance.

Jesus did heal them! He told them to go to the religious leaders to have them look at their skin, to make sure they were healed, and on their way, they were all healed. One of them who was a person that the Jews looked down on, a Samaritan, turned back then and with a loud voice praised the Lord. Jesus said to him, "Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?" He was proud of the man who returned to give thanks.

Now, I wonder, did the servant say thank you to his Master when he had finished eating the supper provided for him? What do you think? Do you always thank your mom and dad for a nice supper? (Sometimes, you may need to say 'mom and - or your dad' since not all children have two parents at home.)

These two Bible stories show us that at times Jesus will give a special gift to those who ask, and at other times, he expects us to act like grown ups and just keep serving him as well as we can. We can always know that the Lord will do the right thing for us. He knows what is best for us.

Now it is time to act out the parable and the story. Choose two children to be the servant and the master. Dress one in a plain robe and the other with a special mark of leadership, like a colorful sash or vest. Help them to act out a man working in the field who comes back to a house and then prepares food for his master. Next, the master allows the servant to go to his own place and have supper. This should be a very short play. The main thing is for the children to understand that we are the servants, not the Master.

Next, have the entire class dress up in robes, for example, old shirts or housecoats, or sheets draped as garments. One child will be the Lord and the others will be the lepers. Pick one to be the thankful leper. Help them figure out how to act out the story.

After the play, make a point to talk about what each child is thankful about. Sometimes you may need to help them think of the really big reasons, not the little ones that naturally occur to them. That is what Sunday School is for.

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