Get a kid volunteer or your helper to assist. Prepare a large backpack (e.g. hikers) and some heavy books etc. Would be helpful if you can brief/rehearse beforehand.
Hello children. Meet my friend (name of assistant). <get asst to wave and walk freely about in the front>
My friend looks very carefree and relaxed. Let me see what I can get him/her to do … Hmm … maybe I’ll get him/her to wear this backpack. <wear backpack; asst still walks around but a bit slower>
Let’s see … Maybe I’ll get him/her to carry some stuff up to the 3rd floor for me. l’ll add in this book. And this book. And this file. And …
<Add in books/extra weight slowly; as you do that, get asst to bend lower and lower until cannot move>
Oh no … what happened? Are you alright? Can you walk? <Asst tries to move and straighten up but fails>
Can you see the ceiling? Can you see my face? <Asst tries but fails>
Kids … do you think my friend is able to carry all these stuff up to the 3rd floor for me? <No!> Why not? <Because he/she is all bent over>
“Let me tell you about a woman who was bent over like this for a very, very long time.”
2. STORY: Jesus Healing the Bent-Over Woman (Luke 13:10-17)
Luke 13:10-1710 One Sabbath Jesus was teaching in a synagogue.11 A woman there had an evil spirit that had kept her sick for eighteen years; she was bent over and could not straighten up at all.12 When Jesus saw her, he called out to her, Woman, you are free from your sickness! 13 He placed his hands on her, and at once she straightened herself up and praised God. 14 The official of the synagogue was angry that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, so he spoke up and said to the people, “There are six days in which we should work; so come during those days and be healed, but not on the Sabbath!”15 The Lord answered him,” You hypocrites! Any one of you would untie your ox or your donkey from the stall and take it out to give it water on the Sabbath.16 Now here is this descendant of Abraham whom Satan has kept in bonds for eighteen years; should she not be released on the Sabbath?” 17 His answer made his enemies ashamed of themselves, while the people rejoiced over all the wonderful things that he did.
Imagine: for 18 years, this woman had an evil spirit and a horrible physical condition. 18 years is a long time — how many of you have 18-year-old brothers or sisters? Imagine being bent up for so long.
Jesus did a wonderful thing — He delivered the evil spirit from a woman and healed her so that she could finally stand up straight.
She was so happy — she stood tall and praised God! Wouldn’t you be happy if Jesus healed you?
But some people weren’t happy. The religious officials were unhappy. They were unhappy because Jesus broke the Sabbath laws by healing the woman. You were not supposed to work on the Sabbath. And healing was considered work, so the religious leaders considered it “illegal”. Jesus should have healed her on a Sunday, a Monday, a Tuesday, a Wednesday … any day except Saturday, the Sabbath day.
What is the Sabbath? The Sabbath is a day of rest. God instituted it when He gave the Israelites the 10 Commandments through Moses (the Mosaic Covenant). It was a day to cease working and rest.
Rest sounds good doesn’t it? Who doesn’t like to rest? But the religious leaders took something good and made it into a burden for the people. It was like they kept putting more and more weights on the people, just like I made my friend carry all those heavy books until he/she couldn’t move anymore.
Jesus came to give us freedom and true rest — not just from sickness and diseases, but also from the burden and weight of the law.
Jesus asked the religious leaders a question: If you have an ox or a donkey that’s kept in the stall, wouldn’t you let them out to drink some water on the Sabbath? Of course you would.
To the Israelites in that time, their livestock (ox, donkey, sheep, cattle) were important to them because that’s their livelihood, their income. So they will take care of them even on the Sabbath day.
Now here was a woman that has been kept captive by Satan for 18 years. Surely she is more important that the ox and donkey? Surely she can be set free even on a Sabbath.
Jesus showed the people that He was the true Sabbath, the true rest for the people — not all those little rules that they tried to impose on the people.
And to God, we are so much more important to Him than all these animals. So God wants to show His love and goodness to us, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Isn’t God so good? That’s why we praise Him!
3. ACTIVITY SUGGESTIONS
OUT OF SHAPE WALK AROUND: Tell children to walk slowly and quietly (NO running or shouting) as if they are bent out of shape. And when the teacher calls out “FREEZE”, they have to freeze in their best “bent” pose.
CRAFT IDEA: Calendar showing all the days of the week, with the words, “Jesus loves me every day of the week!”
Remind kids that they are so important to God and He wants to show them His love every day.