This week at home for families
Resources for worshipping together at home
John 9.1-41: Jesus heals a man who was born without sight.
Sense the story
Invite the children to close their eyes and 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.
As he walked along, Jesus saw a man who had been born blind. Jesus walked towards him, then spat on the ground and made mud; he took the mud and spread it on the man’s eyes. Then he said, ‘Go and wash in the pool of Siloam.’ So the man went; he washed and suddenly he could see again!
People who saw him were puzzled. Wasn’t this the man who sat and begged? How can he now see?
The man told them, ‘Jesus spread mud on my eyes, and told me to go to Siloam and wash. I did and now I can see!’
The crowd took the man to the Pharisees and they asked him how he could see. The man replied, ‘Jesus spread mud on my eyes and told me to go to Siloam and wash. I did and now I can see.’
Now all this happened on the sabbath. Some of the Pharisees were angry and began to mutter. ‘This man is not from God, he doesn’t keep the sabbath.’ But others questioned, ‘Could he do this if he wasn’t from God?’ They couldn’t agree. So they asked the healed man what he thought. ‘Jesus is a prophet,’ he replied.
Still they couldn’t agree. So they asked the man’s parents, ‘Was he born blind?’ ‘Yes,’ they replied. But they were too scared to say how he had been healed.
Again the Pharisees questioned the man. ‘I have told you, Jesus healed me. He is from God.’ But they were scared and drove him out of town. Jesus heard this and set off to find the man. Jesus said to him, ‘I am the Son of Man,’ and the man worshipped him. Jesus continued,
‘I came so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.’
Pharisees a group who kept the Jewish law very strictly; sabbath a weekly day of rest and prayer for Jews from Friday night to Saturday night; Son of Man a title from the Old Testament Book of Daniel, used by Jesus to describe himself.
Invite the children to retell the story using their hands to make shadow puppets.
- 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?
More activities, songs and prayers
Shake and settle
Understand how we need God to help us see things more clearly
You will need: a large plastic bottle with lid, soil, parcel tape.
- Prepare the bottle with approximately 3cm of soil in the base. Fill it with water, leaving around 3cm space beneath the lid. Fix the lid to the bottle and use parcel tape to seal it.
- Show the children the bottle and invite them to think of someone they would like God to heal. Shake the bottle and keep silence as the contents settle.
- Ask the children to suggest other ideas for people or situations we do not see clearly, and repeat the action of shaking the bottle and watching the soil settle as you reflect and pray.
Very young children could use chalks on dark paper to create a symbol of faith, e.g. a cross, in the centre.
Put out a selection of bite sizes pieces of food, ideally of the same sort, e.g. different jelly beans or other sweets, or flavoured drinks. Do a blind tasting - can you name the different flavours?
Go outside to a patch of mud. Encourage everyone to look at the mud and feel it. Ask them: how would you feel if you couldn’t see, and suddenly mud was smeared on your eyes?
Sing and listen
I’m gonna jump up and down (be happy!), Doug Horley on Lovely jubbly
Ask seek knock, Hillsong kids, on Can you believe it!?
By faith, Keith & Kristyn Getty on Awaken the dawn
I stand in awe, Chris Tomlin feat. Nicole Serrano on Holy roar
Right where you want me, Sarah Reeves on Easy never needed you
Because of your love, Soul survivor feat. Tim Hughes on Be my everything
With their eyes open, invite everyone to pray using what they see around them in the room as a prompt: for each other, for the world, for their friends, for their journey of faith.