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Jesus and the leper

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On your marks:

When Jesus walked on earth, he said and did some amazing things. Of course, the miracles and the teaching were wonderful but there was in fact another way in which his ministry had a tremendous impact, and one that we sometimes overlook. Again and again, Jesus came close to those people nobody else came close to. By doing this, he showed us what God was really like. God cares for those pushed to the edge, and so we see Jesus reaching out to the outsiders like the Roman centurion, who represented the hated foreign power; to a woman from Tyre and Sidon, who was surely outside any plans for God's kingdom; to the women and children, who were regarded as second-class citizens in those days; and to the sick and the disabled, including lepers. It was his willingness to touch these outsiders that made all the difference, and as such it was a sign of the kingdom of God.

Get set:

No special props are needed.

You can find the story in Matthew 8:1-4, Mark 1:40-45 and Luke 5:12-16.

You will need to explain that a leper was someone with a skin disease that couldn't be cured in Jesus' day and could be caught by others if they stayed too close too long. Lepers were therefore usually sent away from their village and forced to live separately, far from even friends and family.

We are grateful to Fay Garett, who leads lunchtime clubs in a school in Essex, for this version of the story, which we are publishing here with her permission.

Go!

1. Teach the following actions for key words (in uppercase bold) in the story:

HANDS - wave

WALK - move arms as if walking

LEPER - jump away from each other and shudder, pull face

TOUCH - hold up finger and touch next person

2. Tell the story:

One day, Jesus came to a busy village.

As he WALKED along, crowds came to see.

The crowds WALKED with him.

Jesus reached out his HANDS and TOUCHED many of them.

The crowds reached out their HANDS - to wave, to shake and to TOUCH him.

At the far edge of the village lived somebody else.

He too started to WALK.

He started to WALK towards the rest of the people.

He could see all the HANDS as they reached out to Jesus.

He saw the HANDS of Jesus TOUCH the people in the crowd.

But he stayed in the distance.

At the back of the crowd.

He did not WALK towards Jesus.

He knew what would happen.

He was a LEPER.

No one could WALK with him.

No one would TOUCH him.

It was not allowed.

He was a LEPER.

Jesus looked up.

Above the HANDS of the crowd, he saw the LEPER.

Through the HANDS of the crowd, Jesus began to WALK.

He came towards the LEPER, his HANDS outstretched.

The LEPER turned to move away.

No one could WALK with him.

No one would TOUCH him.

It was not allowed.

He was a LEPER.

But then Jesus WALKED right up to him.

He WALKED with the LEPER.

Then Jesus reached out and TOUCHED him.

He TOUCHED the LEPER.

It was not allowed - he was a LEPER.

But Jesus did it anyway.

One TOUCH was enough.

One TOUCH - and the LEPER was healed.

One TOUCH - his skin.

One TOUCH - his heart.

One TOUCH - he was made well!

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