The story of the healing of the man born blind is another very long one. That adds to the challenge of basing a children’s sermon on John 9:1-41. It isn’t that the content is complex or obscure. It s just that the one story has about six different scenes.
With a Gospel text, I often like to make the story itself the heart of the children’s sermon. Kids love stories (grown-ups too) and if we just invite them in, and stop to wonder about what happened, they will be doing the good work of engaging with Christ and the Bible’s message.
Here I’m aiming to make a story-sermon work by only telling one scene of the story — the part I think kids will find most interesting. And of course, as a storyteller, I’m adding a bit conversation that isn’t in the text. (But really, if the only words spoken were the words in the text the scene would have been very odd.)
Feel free to use this children’s sermon, whether in a service or as a bedtime story with your kids while you’re stuck inside waiting for the COVID-19 pandemic to end. Let me know how it goes!
A Children’s Sermon on John 9:1-41
Long ago, in the city of Jerusalem, there was a man who had been blind since the day he was born. The Bible doesn’t mention the man’s name, but the Church has always called him “Celidonius.”
Celidonius was very poor. Because he was blind, he couldn’t work at a regular job. So he sat there beside the street all day, every day. When he heard people passing by, he would call out and ask if they could give him any money.
One day, he heard some people coming. “Who is that coming?” he asked.
Someone told him “It’s Jesus and his disciples.”
When they got close, Jesus said “Hello. What’s your name?”
“Celidonius,” the man said.
“What are you doing here, Celidonious?” Jesus asked.
“I’m blind,” he said. “So I sit here to beg.”
“How did you become blind?” one of Jesus’ disciples asked. “Did you have an accident?”
“Actually I was born blind.”
Well, then Jesus’ disciples started talking about Celidonius and his blindness.
“Jesus, why do you think Celidonius is blind?” said one.
Another said, “Wow, God must be mad at Celidonius’ parents. They must have done something really bad for their son to be born blind.”
“No,” said a third. “God wouldn’t do that to Celidonius because his parents did something bad. Celidonius must have done something bad — that must be why he’s blind. God is punishing him.”
“What are you talking about?” asked another. “How could he do something bad before he was born? That’s crazy talk.”
Well they went on and on. I think it was kind of rude to say all that stuff right there in front of poor Celidonius.
Eventually Jesus spoke up: “No, you guys, God is not punishing anyone here. Celidonius is blind because God wanted to show the world some amazing things.”
Everybody wanted to know what kinds of amazing things God wanted to show through Celidonius’ blindness.
Jesus said, “Watch this.” Then he spat on the ground. He scooped up some dirt with his spit, and made mud out of it. Then he said to Celidonius, “Close your eyes tight. I need to spread some mud on them.”
Celidonius said, “What? You’re gonna put mud on my eyes? No way.”
Jesus said, “Yep. I made it out of my own spit. Hold still.”
Celidonius said, “Ew! That’s so gross!”
Jesus spread the mud very gently on Celidonius eyes. Then he said, “Now I’m going to send you to a pool to wash the mud off. The name of the pool is ’Sent.’ When you go where you’re sent, you’ll be able to see.”
And you know what? Celidonius went where he was sent. He washed the mud off. He looked up — and he could see for the first time in his life!
Then he went looking for Jesus until he found him.
- I wonder why Jesus used spit and dirt to heal Celdonius’ eyes?
- I wonder what Celidonius was feeling when Jesus rubbed mud on his eyes?
- I wonder what Celidonius learned by being sent and having to wash before the miracle of healing happened?
- I wonder if there are things in us that need some of Jesus’ healing mud?
- I wonder if Jesus might send us out to do something before we are able to find ourselves healed?
- I wonder what kind of amazing things God had already done in Celidonius’ life before he was healed of his blindness?
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