To help children understand that first impressions of people or situations don’t always give a true picture. We need to look again and make sure that we’re ‘seeing’ properly.
Things you’ll need
• A large tapestry picture
1 Display the back of the tapestry picture and ask them to guess what the picture is.
2 Introduce the story by explaining that often we look at things, but don’t really understand what we are looking at. In the following story, the children will hear about someone who Jesus helped because he was looking properly, but other people weren’t seeing things clearly.
3 Tell the following story. Emphasise the bits in bold.
Once there was a man who was filled by evil spirits. He would walk round shouting, screaming and hurting himself. The people of his home town made him live on his own outside their town in the hills. They looked at the man and saw someone who was frightening.
One day Jesus came to the town. On his way there he met the man out in the hills. The man was shouting and hitting himself. Jesus looked at the man and saw someone who needed help.
Jesus made the evil spirits come out of the man. They went into some pigs which ran into the sea. The man was better. He stopped shouting and screaming. He didn’t hurt himself any more.
The people from the town came running to see what had happened. They were really cross. They looked at the man and thought, ‘Our pigs were more important than him.’ They looked at Jesus and saw someone they thought was frightening and would cause trouble.
‘Get out of our town,’ they shouted at Jesus.
The man who had been healed wanted to go with Jesus and help him. He looked at Jesus and saw the only person who was able to help him. Jesus told the man to stay in his town and tell people what had happened.
Jesus looked at the man and saw someone useful, someone much more important than the pigs.
4. Show the front of the tapestry. Now you can look at it properly and see what the picture is.
A Christian viewpoint
In the Bible, we discover that Jesus looks at things as they really are. When he looks at people, he sees all of us as people who need help. We need help to do things right; we need to be forgiven when we do things wrong, we need help to see things properly, like the man could after he had been healed. Jesus wants to help us because, the Bible says, he looks at us and loves each one of us.
1 In the story, Jesus was the one who saw things properly. He saw that the man wasn’t frightening, but that he needed help. The people in the town didn’t stop and think about what they were seeing. They just looked quickly and decided they knew how things were. But they got it wrong.
2 Ask the children about how they make their minds up about people and situations, using some of these questions to help them think about this:
- Do you bother to look properly? Or, are you like the people from Legion’s home town and make up your mind about someone or something before you’ve really thought?
- Do you decide what people are like by what they look like?
- Do you decide something will be boring before you’ve tried it? Or, that something tastes horrible before you’ve eaten it?
Jesus challenged people by looking properly at things and seeing things as they really were. His way of looking at things challenges us to do the same. Are we always ready to look again?
You could finish with this prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank you that when you were here on earth you saw things as they really were. You saw the man, Legion, as needing your help, not as someone to be sent away. Thank you that when you look at us you see us as people you love, needing your help. Help us to be people you see things properly, just like you do. Amen.