Focus Passage: Mark 10: 46-52
Memory Verse: “Immediately he could see again, and followed Jesus on the way.”
Items for Preparation
-at a party store, you can get an eye patch, especially right here before Halloween, in the pirate section. If you have access to a set of crutches, or a cane, bring that too.
Read the adult lessons in Baptists Today and additional material at Nurturing Faith online. We must make a very abstract idea plain to children today, using the Biblical story which has literal and figurative truth in it. Go gently, since kids can’t think abstractly. Even the smart ones can draw analogies, even with crayons. Rather than teaching about spiritual “sight” being restored, let’s discuss the impediments every person has to following Jesus along the way. Some are visible. Some are not. No pun.
[Display your eye patch, crutches, cane, whatever you have.]
Say: The story we hear today about Blind Bartimaeus is a famous story of Jesus healing a blind man just by saying the words “Go, your faith has made you well.”
Say: In the stories of the Bible, Jesus could heal a person without using any medicine, just by forgiving them, or by saying to them that Jesus knew they were faithful. Now, today, there are many people who are blind. Maybe you have seen people riding in wheelchairs who can’t walk or use their legs very well. Maybe you have seen people using crutches after they have surgery, or using a cane because they are getting older and need the help to stay balanced as they walk.
Say: In the times of the Bible stories, if a person was sick, or had any part of his body get hurt or injured, then everybody could see that right away. Sometimes a sick or injured person was not wanted around other people. They had to stay away from everybody else. They felt lonely and sad. Do you think there are any sick or injured people, or any people who must use wheelchairs all the time, or any people with disabilities, who feel sad, lonely or kept apart from the rest of us today? [Allow for answers.]
Say: I think there are plenty of people who feel lonely and apart because their bodies are hurting. So when Jesus walked by Blind Bartimaeus, more than anything else, he wanted to be able to go back into the group, to join others in town, to be part of the men of the village, to have friends, and not to be lonely and apart because he couldn’t see.
Say: Jesus could tell that Bartimaeus was lonely, so Jesus gave him the thing he wanted most: Jesus told him he was a good, faithful person, and welcomed him back into the group. Bartimaeus could see again; he could be a regular person again, and not be left out or kept apart. Jesus himself said that Bartimaeus was faithful. All the people heard him. They didn’t look down on him for being blind anymore; they didn’t keep him separate for being unable to see. They took Bartimaeus by the hand and patted him on the back, welcoming him into the group.
Say: When we allow a person to feel sad, lonely and apart from us, it hurts them in ways that we can tell, like everybody could tell that Bartimaeus was blind. But it also hurts them in ways we can’t tell; it hurts people inside for us to leave them out. Jesus did not let this happen. He kept people in the group. He could see the love-ableness of every person. He wanted all of us to see that, too. He wanted all of us not to be blind anymore. Now, who might feel sad and apart around us, and what can we do to follow Jesus and welcome them back into our group?
Prayer: Say these words after I say them.
O God of healing,
Show us the ways
We keep people apart,
And give us faith
To see them as sisters and brothers,
To welcome one another,
In Jesus’ name, Amen.