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Reply to "ART Workshop Lessons and Ideas for the Ten Lepers"

Ten Lepers "Make-up" Lesson

Art Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:

In this "art" project, the kids are going to create "SIN MAKEUP" ...making themselves look ugly using stage latex make-up, rubber scars, nose putty, etc. Halloween shops have these, and they can be found online. It's fun to apply and will present you with a memorable hook for the lesson's meaning.

Scripture:  Luke 17: 11-19 

Supplies List:

  • stage latex make-up, rubber scars, nose putty

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the story ahead of time.
  • Gather the materials.


Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

Greet the children and introduce yourself.

Open with a prayer.

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

This particular project is grounded in the understanding that this miracle isn't just about "saying thank you".  The miracles of Jesus are never" just about" Jesus' care for others. 

Jesus uses miracles to:

1. Reveal his identity as Messiah to those who understood what he was doing.

2. Give us a sign of what his Kingdom would be like, ...who would be included (even the leperous Samaritans!).

3. Present a challenge to the religious authorities who thought they had God and righteousness all figured out. Notice in how many miracle stories, the authorities are present, or hear word, and start to complain and conspire.

4. Teach his disciples important ideas in a lasting manner.  To teach us what the resurrection is about, for example, Jesus resurrects Lazarus, and himself!

While compassionate, the miracles are not primarily meant to display Jesus' compassion, but his power and authority, i.e., his true identity.  Jesus was moved to cure ten lepers, but he left hundreds more uncured. He issued a "calling card" to the scribes, priests and Pharisees.

The curing of the lepers a blessed event AND a provocation.

"Go show yourselves to the priests" Jesus told the lepers. And Jesus knew FULL WELL that their healing, especially the healing of a leprous Samaritan, would raise a challenge to the priests which would have to be dealt with.

The priests considered the Samaritans to be religious heretics and impure. How dare Jesus forgive people's sins, and cure them outside the Temple laws and practices.

Teaching this story to children...

> Leprosy is a metaphor for sin. We are disabled, diseased and disfigured by our sin, and need a doctor/savior. Like leprosy, sin turns us into outcasts in God's Kingdom.  Jesus is the one who can heal our sin and bring us back into right relationship with God and with each other. In the Make-Up activity, the kids will visually represent this.

> Jesus forgives our sins and expects a response. He lifts up the example of the one who said "thank you".

Notes on Leprosy

You have probably already read that the people in Jesus' day thought leprosy, like other diseases and deformities, were signs of sin, either by the person or the person's family.  Leprosy was a particularly gruesome sign of sin, and because it could be contagious, it also meant you had to leave your home and live as an outcast.  In that sense, it is the perfect disease for Jesus to cure because sin not only racks your body, but sin is also contagious, can spread in a family, and can cause people to be cast out (think Prodigal Son).  Healing leprosy can thus be thought of a sign of the restoration of God's community.

We can express this idea to children by saying that when Jesus healed the Lepers, he was restoring them to normal life and restoring their reputation and that of their family.  Being "clean" they could marry, hold their children, and hold a job.  They could go to worship. They could join in religious festivals.

Interestingly, Jesus does NOT condemn the 9 who didn't return.They still got their healing, but you can bet they told the priests WHO had healed them.  You could say that it is a GOOD THING that they didn't go back to Jesus --because Jesus needed the religious authorities to know that the Messiah had arrived.

The Make-Up Project

In this "art" project, the kids are going to create "SIN MAKEUP" ...making themselves look ugly using stage latex make-up, rubber scars, nose putty, etc. Halloween shops have these, and they can be found online. It's fun to apply and will present you with a memorable hook for the lesson's meaning.

Remember to take plenty of photos!!

Take about 20 minutes to apply the "monster" makeup, then gather around for discussion.

Discuss what leprosy was. How it caused people to be cast out of their families and communities. Teach the children that people back then thought leprosy was a punishment for sin, either your own or the sins of your family.  

  • What kind of sins break up friendships and families today?
  • What kinds of sin destroy churches and communities?
  • Who is without sin in our world?  
  • Who "looks good" to God?   None.  All sin. We are all like lepers. 

In our world, we judge people by their looks. We think some are better than others based on looks, money, skin color, family history, country. (give examples)

The priests had a system of religious rules that said, "if you do exactly what we tell you, you will be a righteous/saved person."   They believe that certain people DESERVED leprosy, deserved God's punishment. And that they themselves did NOT deserve God's punishment. They thought they were BETTER THAN the lepers.  The truth is, we're all "made ugly by sin." 

When Jesus cured the lepers and told them to go show the priests, he was sending the priests a message:  that the Messiah had come, and the very people you had rejected, were the first to be saved!   Jesus came to heal the sick, and the religious leaders didn't think they were the sick ones.

Switcheroo:  So who were the REAL lepers?  Who was on the OUTSIDE in Jesus' Kingdom? The answer is EVERYONE is the lepers, even the religious authorities need Jesus to heal/save them.


If you haven't yet heard Mercy Me's "Beautiful" you need to hear it with your kids in full makeup.  "You're beautiful in his eyes."

The following link is the official version available on

It is also found on YouTube

A debrief the video/lyrics, pass out nametags to your gruesome looking group that read: "Hello My Name is Beautiful (according to the one who heals me)"

Lyric debrief:

What makes a person BEAUTIFUL in the EYES OF GOD?

How does a person get all this ugliness off of themselves?  By turning to Christ. Only he can save us from the leprosy of the heart and spirit.

When Jesus restores/saves you, you become part of HIS community, his Kingdom, and should want to say thank you with your life.  "You are meant for so much more than this."  Jesus wants the lepers to be thankful, to return to him, and help bring his Kingdom to others.

Here's an excerpt of the lyrics:

MercyMe - Beautiful


Days will come when you don't have the strength
When all you hear is you're not worth anything
Wondering if you ever could be loved
And if they truly saw your heart
They'd see too much

You're beautiful, You're beautiful
You are made for so much more than all of this
You're beautiful, You're beautiful
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His
You're beautiful

and Praying that you have the heart to fight
Cuz you are more than what is hurting you tonight
For all the lies you've held inside so long
and they are nothing in the shadow of the cross


Finish with a prayer of thanksgiving.

I hope you improve on this make-up project!

A lesson written by Neil MacQueen

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.

Posted by Debbie Coe

We had the kids smear their arms and faces with a simple oatmeal and water mixture that looked really gross when it started to dry. It really helped sell the point about judging by people's looks, and the kids really enjoyed it. they wanted to keep it on so that they could show their parents!!

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