The story of the Roman centurion who came to Jesus requesting help for his servant is found in the 8th chapter of Matthew. Jesus healed the ailing servant with a word, and was impressed with this Roman officer for two reasons. He was a Roman but sought help from a Jewish rabbi, and he expressed great faith. The Roman and Jewish cultures, faith and healing can all be underscored with simple crafts for a children's Sunday School class.
Cultural differences are an undercurrent in this story. The centurion is a Roman, part of the occupational army oppressing the land of Israel at that time. It was unusual for a Roman to seek help from a Jewish rabbi. Have the children cut Roman clothing, shields and helmets from construction paper, then glue them to empty toilet paper rolls. Add faces with a black marker. Discuss the authority and position in society a centurion would have had.
The Romans were the rulers in Israel and would have lived in as much comfort as possible. Show pictures of Roman mosaics, tile designs for the floors or walls of their houses, and have the children create their own using a sheet of construction paper, glue and small squares of coloured paper. Cut construction paper into 1/2-inch squares ahead of time. Geometric designs were popular with the Romans, but pictures could be made as well. The children could even depict the story of the centurion's servant in their mosaics.
The central theme of this story is faith. Jesus was impressed with this Roman officer's faith. Provide leather bookmarks, which can be purchased at leather or craft stores as kits, and leather letter stamps. Show the class how to stamp "faith" down the length of the bookmark, then how to add decorative lacing around the edges of the bookmark. Use a leather punch to make a round hole at the top of the bookmark and thread a length of leather thong or satin ribbon through and knot it near the end.
Framed Picture of Jesus
Jesus healed the Centurion's servant with a word. Jesus healing people is another central theme to the story. Make copies of a colouring page illustrating Jesus healing people and give one to each child. Have the children colour the pages, then provide coloured macaroni and glue. Have them frame the coloured picture by gluing the macaroni around the edges of the page. Use a one-hole paper punch to thread yarn or ribbon through two holes in the upper corners so the framed picture can be hung.
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