To show Christians believe Jesus came to do a very specific job on earth: to ask people to turn away from doing wrong things and follow him.
You will need:
- Cards with the following things written on them: Lots of money; a good job; a big car; friends and family; happiness; peace; lots of chocolate
- A packet of sticky plasters
- Fine clothes to dress ‘Levi’
- “Healthy people do not need a doctor but sick people do” written on card
Choose two or three volunteers to come to the front. Show them the cards withall the ‘good things’ written on them. If they could only have three things in life, which three would it be?
Once they have chosen three, ask them to reduce it to two, and finally, if they could choose only one thing, what would it be?
There are lots of things that we would like to have in life, but while a nice car and a big house might be fun, life would be pretty miserable if you had these things but no one to share them with. Human beings need to have other people around them, and for most people, friends and/or family will be the most important things in their life.
The person we are going to meet in today’s story had lots of things in life. His name was Levi.
Choose a pupil to be Levi.
The Bible says Levi was very rich and so was always very well dressed (dress up ‘Levi’ in fine clothes). But although Levi looked good, he was not very happy as he did not have any friends.
Levi was Jewish, as were all the other people who lived in his town, but Levi worked for the Romans. The Romans had taken over the town and made the Jewish people pay huge taxes to them, so people really didn’t like them very much. Levi’s job was to gather in these Roman taxes from his people, the Jews. Often he would gather in more money than people owed and keep the rest for himself. As you can imagine, Levi was very unpopular!
So, while Levi was very well dressed on the outside, the reality was that he was not a very nice person on the inside. There were lots of things wrong in his life, such as greed and selfishness – what the Bible calls ‘sin’. The Bible describes sin as a sickness, so to help us remember that Levi is not as fine as he would like to appear on the outside, we’ll give ‘Levi’ some plasters to cover up his sin! Stick plasters over Levi’s fine clothes.
One day, as Levi was walking along on his own, as usual, an amazing thing happened. Levi had got used to being ignored by everyone he met, but suddenly, from the middle of a big crowd, a man came towards him.
And even more amazingly, the man actually spoke to him! What do you think he said?
Take suggestions from the assembly. Pupils may suggest that the man would ask Levi why he had plasters all over his clothes, or would tell him he looked stupid. Remind the pupils that the plasters would represent sin – bad things that Levi had done or thought – so the man might have asked him why he was so bad or so mean.
Actually what he said was this:
‘Come and be my follower!’
The man who came to speak to Levi was Jesus. Levi must have been so surprised that this man whom everybody wanted to be near had asked him, unpopular and sinful Levi, to be his follower! What Levi wanted more than anything was friends and here was Jesus asking him to come and be his friend. Levi was so happy that the first thing he did was throw a party so that everyone else could come and meet Jesus.
When people criticised Jesus for being friends with someone like Levi, he said a very strange thing.
Show them the card with the words:
‘Healthy people do not need a doctor but sick people do.’
What do you think he meant? Look at our ‘Levi’ for a clue!
The Bible teaches that Jesus came to call people who were needy to be friends with God, not people who thought they were already good enough. He came to call sinners, people who wanted his help to make them better people on the inside, not just on the outside.
Start to take the plasters off Levi’s clothes
Christians believe that Jesus helped Levi to do this, and this is what the Bible says Jesus can do for people today too. Christians believe that this was why Jesus came to earth: to help people to turn from the bad things they do and follow him.
Optional prayer time:
Give thanks that Jesus cares about all the things that are wrong inside us and that his reason for coming to earth was to help people, not to make their life harder.