The students will be able to use the story of the ten lepers to explain that Jesus wants us to give thanks for what He does for us. They can explain that the one leper who came back received an added blessing for being truly thankful—he was spiritually healed as well as physically.
Introduction: Draw facial features on the fingertips of a pair of white cotton gloves, as described under In-Class Activities. Make them all with smiling faces, but an extra big smile on one fingertip. Let the class look at all ten fingers, and then tell them that today's story will bring out why these ten men are smiling, and why one has a bigger smile than the others.
Climax: The man who returned to give thanks to Jesus received an added blessing—he was made spiritually whole.
Conclusion: God is pleased when we remember to be thankful for the things He has done for us, and expression of our appreciation brings greater blessing.
Response: The students should be able to relate the story of the ten lepers and tell why the one man received an added blessing.
Leviticus 13 and 14 describe leprosy and the procedures for dealing with it. It is clear from these two chapters that it was a severe disease spreading on the surface of the skin in such a way that infection required the person's separation from others. The priests alone were given authority to declare a person either clean or unclean, depending on the condition of the disease, thus making it typical of sin and used by God as an object lesson to encourage purity. A person, having been found to be leprous, was required to separate himself from the general population, and when anyone approached, he was to cry "Unclean, unclean." A person with the disease was looked upon with disdain, and as one who had incurred the wrath of God.
Jesus is never said to have healed a leper, but always to have "cleansed" him. Luke 17:11-19 is a case in point. These ten had obviously heard of Jesus' power to cleanse them. All had enough faith to obey His command to "Go shew yourselves unto the priests" in order to be declared clean so that they might reenter society. Gratitude seems to have been rarer than faith in that all were made clean but only one returned to give thanks. This man was a despised Samaritan who was considered not only physically unclean because of leprosy but also spiritually unclean because of his origin. But Jesus, who had power to cleanse the leper also had power to cleanse the sinner. After commending the man for his humble and grateful spirit Jesus said, "Go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole" (Luke 17:19).
Special Instructions for Unit 27: Give each child a page from their Praying Hands book and have them write their memory verse for this week.
Have someone act out the part of the leper's coming back to thank Jesus. Have him tell others about the miracle of healing he received. Then when he gave thanks for it his sins were also forgiven! Or you might want to tell this story in third person (a person who saw it happen tells someone else who didn't see it).
On butcher paper draw a large picture of a child so everyone can see it (see Patterns). Omit ears, eyes, nose, mouth, feet, and hands. Hand out six envelopes with one of these items in each one. Have the children holding these envelopes come up, one at a time, and show which of the items they have. Tape them where they belong on the child picture. Discuss with the department what it would be like not to have these parts of our body and how different our life would be. Each one of us should be thankful for our healthy bodies.
Have someone come to your class and give his personal testimony of how God healed him.