Jesus Heals Ten Lepers

Primary Pals for Teachers
Unit 27 - Thanksgiving

TEXT: Luke 17:11-19


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.

  1. Ten lepers called on Jesus for healing and He told them to go and show themselves to the priest.
  2. As they obeyed and went on their way, they found that they were cleansed of the disease.
  3. One man returned to thank Jesus.

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).


  • Make puppets out of tongue depressors (flat wooden sticks that may be purchased at any drug store), one for each leper. Make one side sad and the other side happy (see Patterns).
  • Wear a pair of gloves on which you have drawn faces on each fingertip to represent the ten lepers. Act out the story.
  • Make ten faces that are happy when you hold them upright and sad when you turn them upside down (see Patterns). As each of the sick men are healed turn their faces so they are happy. Have a little heart on the back of each of the faces. Nine of the hearts will be plain and one of them should have a picture of Jesus on it. Explain that because this happy person told Jesus, "Thank You," he had the extra blessing of having Jesus in his heart.
  • Use small dolls (Playmobile or Fisher-Price people work well) to represent the ten lepers. Put small Band-Aids on the ten dolls. Put a piece of white material around one doll, like a shawl, to represent Jesus. Use these figures to act out the story. When the lepers are healed, let the children remove the Band-Aids. Tape a small white heart to the one who comes back to thank Jesus.

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.


  1. Was it harder for Jesus to heal all the ten lepers at once rather than one at a time? Why or why not?
  2. What did Jesus tell them to do after He healed them?
  3. Do you think that Jesus loved the one leper who turned back to thank Him better than He loved the others? Do you think the one leper loved Jesus better?
  4. What happened to the man who thanked Jesus for his healing?
  5. Why didn't the other nine lepers return and tell Jesus, "Thank You"?
  6. Do you sometimes forget to say thank you to Jesus for things He has done for you? What should you do?
  7. Think about waking up in the morning and looking out your window. How many things do you see for which you can thank God?
  8. Do you think unthankful people will go to Heaven? Why or why not?
  9. Besides thanking Jesus, is it important that we thank others for doing nice things for us?
  10. Tell about a time Jesus healed you. Did you thank Him?


  • Give each of the children a copy of the Thank-You note for Jesus (see Patterns). Let them sign their names and color the card.
  • Let each child use the fold-up sheet of the ten lepers (see Patterns) to help them visualize the one man returning to give thanks to Jesus.
  • For each of your children make the Ten Lepers stick puppets (see Patterns). As you tell the story of how sad they were to be sick, let the children hold up the sad side of the puppet. After the lepers are healed, the children can turn the puppet over and guess which one of the men came back to give thanks to Jesus.


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.


  • One Leper Says Thank You — Palm Tree book, Concordia
  • He Remembered to Say Thank You — book, Concordia
  • Walking with Jesus — by V. Gilbert Beers and Ron Beers
  • Man of Miracles — book and tape Stories that Live, Series 2, Book 4