The Man Let Down through the Roof




Antioch Arcade


Scripture:  Mark 2:1-12. 


Memory Verse:


1 John 3:18 ­ Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.




1. Our faith in God can help others.

2. We show our faith in God by helping and praying for others.


Objectives:     The children will:


1.      locate the passage in their Bibles and know the details of the story.

2.      play a game to explore the level of faith and commitment of the friends who carried the paralyzed man to see Jesus.  

3.      consider ways in which they can bring the needs of others to Jesus.



Welcome and Introductions:  (10:00)

1.      Greet the children and introduce yourself.  Wear your name-tag. Make sure the children are wearing name-tags. If not, ask the shepherd to supply a temporary badge. Remember you are interacting with a different group of students each week who may not know you.


2.      Open with a brief prayer. Tell the children the workshop is about friends helping friends.


Scripture/Bible Story:


1.  The first and second graders will not use Bibles, but do open yours to show them the story is in there. For grades 3-5, make sure everybody has a Bible. There are extra Bibles in the cupboards of Praising Puppets and Creation Station. 

Help the students to find the book of Mark. (Get the shepherds to go around the room and help with this.) If necessary, review the organization of the Bible: The Bible is divided into two big parts, the Old and New Testaments. Each part is made up of books, which are divided into chapters and verses. The first four books of the New Testament are the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. If they open their Bible in the middle, they’ll usually land in the book of Psalms in the OT. Point out that the book name is at the top of each page. After finding Psalms, if they then take the pages on the right side and divide them in half, they’ll land somewhere near the beginning of the New Testament. From there they can find Mark. (Some of the older children should know the books of the Bible. Encourage everyone to learn them.)


After they’ve found Mark, help them find chapter 2, then verses 1-12. Some of the children will confuse chapters and verses. Show them that chapter numbers are the big ones, and also are at top of every page.


2.  With fifth-graders, you might let several children take turns and read the story out loud. With other grades, tell the story, using the summary below as a guide. (For more thoughts on telling Bible stories, see In the second week, you might let the children help you tell the story. This will give you an idea of how much they already know. In the last three weeks, when most children will be familiar with the story, you can use one of these ideas for reviewing it:


Begin the story and let each person in the circle add one line to the story until it is complete. Help them tell the COMPLETE story.


Tell the story back to them with inaccuracies and let them correct you (especially fun for the younger ones but don’t do this until the later part of the rotation).


Have them roughly sketch the story out and then tell it.


Older children: Photocopy or type out the passage (remove verse numbers), cut it up and see if they can put it back together correctly.


Hand out key words and ask the kids what they have to do with the story. Or find the key word in the Bible passage and then read it.


Story summary


Jesus was staying in the town of Capernaum (show the town on a map), and crowds were coming from all around to hear him teach. People came from Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem (point out on the map) to the house where Jesus was staying.


While Jesus was inside the house teaching, some people brought a paralyzed man on a mat to ask Jesus to heal him. But the crowd was so thick, they couldn’t get inside the house. So they carried their friend up onto the roof, dug through the thatch and lowered their friend on his mat down into the room.


When Jesus saw how much faith the friends had, he did something surprising. Instead of healing the man, he said, “My friend, your sins are forgiven.”


Some of the listeners were Jews who were experts in God’s law and very careful about following all the details of the law. When they heard what Jesus had said, they said, “Jesus must thnk he is God! Only God can forgive sins.”


So Jesus said to them, “Which is easier, to tell the man that his sins are forgiven, or to tell him to get up and walk? I’ll show you that I have the authority to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turn to the crippled man and said, “Get up! Pick up your mat and go home!” 


The man stood up, picked up his mat and went home, thanking God. Everyone was amazed and praised God.


Application: (10:10)

1.      Divide the class into teams of five or six children. Tell them they are going to practice carrying each other the way the paralyzed man’s friends carried him to Jesus. Emphasize that the man’s friends cared very much about him so they carried him carefully and worked together. Everybody should pick up and put down their poles at the same time. If one person sets his pole down before the others, their friend will get dumped onto the ground. If anyone finds his load too heavy, he should tell the others so they can all set down the stretcher together.

2.      Go outside where you have created a course for each team, marked into several equal legs. The courses can be triangles, squares, or straight lines marked into sections. The distances should be long enough to require a little effort, but not so long as to be discouraging.

3.      Give each team a stretcher. (See stretcher-making instructions at end of lesson.) One child is to lie on the stretcher, while four children carry it the first leg of the course. They then switch positions so that a different child is carried for the next leg. If you have more than five children on a team, rotate the participants so they all have a turn as spectators. Repeat until everybody has had a ride.

4.      Have an adult supervise each team to ensure safety.


Alternative: If you are not confident that the children won’t drop each other, let them carry dummies or weights instead. Consider 40-pound bags of lime, rice, etc., double-wrapped to prevent spillage­ one bag for younger kids, two or three for older kids. Using dummies would allow you to have a race or make the course more difficult.


Older Children:  Consider making the course longer or putting in a few small obstacles, a step to climb, something to step across, etc. Don’t make it so hard they’ll drop their friend.


Younger Children: Make the course short.


If it rains: Let the children carry each other around the room on the stretchers. Use tables, chairs, or whatever is available to make a course, or just clear out a space and let them take 2- or 3-minute turns carrying and riding.


Wrap-Up:  (10:30)

Gather the children in a circle and talk about the game. Questions that could be explored:


Was it hard work to carry your friends?


Think about how hard the friends had to work to carry their friend to the house, up the stairs to the roof, dig a hole in the thatch, tie ropes to the mat, and lower him down. Why do you think they did all that work? (They cared very much about their friend, and they believed that Jesus could help him.)


Would you use that much energy to bring the need of a friend to Jesus or to the church?


In some of the other stories in the gospels, Jesus heals people who show their faith in him. In this story, Jesus healed a man whose friends showed faith. How can our faith in God help other people? (We pray and ask God to help other people. Sometimes we not only can pray, but our faith also leads us to take action to help other people.We show our faith in God by helping and praying for others. We tell each other about God’s forgiveness.)


What kinds of needs should we bring to Jesus? (any kind of problem that somebody has.)


How do we "lower our friends through the roof to Jesus"? (Let them know you are praying for them. Invite them to church. Talk to them about God. Think of things you can do to help them. When we make an effort to help somebody, we are showing them God’s love and care.)


Is it easy to help other people? (Not always. But the friends in the story show us that sometimes we need to work hard to help somebody else.)


Recite the memory verse together: “Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” 1 John 3:18  Emphasize that the four friends didn’t just talk, they took action and worked hard to help their friend.


Reflection Time: (10:35)


Ask the shepherds to pass out the journals and pencils/markers. You may wish to give the children a sticker or some memento to paste in their journal as a reminder of the story or activity.


Ask the children to draw a large stretcher covering most of their journal page. (You can draw one as a model on the white board. Just a long rectangle with poles sticking out from each corner. )


Tell the younger children: Think of somebody you know who needs God’s help (maybe a sick person or somebody with another problem). How can you bring this person’s need to God? On the stretcher, write their name or draw a picture that shows their need. This week, remember to pray for them or do whatever else you can do to help them.


Tell the older children: Think of one or more people you know who need God’s help On the stretcher, write what you can do to bring their need to God. This week, pray for them and do whatever else you can.


Closing: (10:45)

Prayer:  Ask the students to close their journals and sit quietly for prayer. Give thanks for God’s love and care and ask for help in showing other people God’s love and care. Ask for God to help all our friends with their problems and to show us how we can help them.


Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to help tidy up, collect Bibles and other supplies.


Note:  I find that the kids participate better if they get little rewards along the way. Skittles are highly motivating for some reason. If I were leading this workshop I’d give them a Skittle for bringing their Bible, for finding the Bible passage, for being attentive or participating in story telling and discussion, a Skittle after their team plays the game, a Skittle for helping clean up, one to everybody on the way out the door AFTER cleanup, etc. I’d have several small jars of Skittles on hand and put the shepherds in charge

of distribution. (Better check with shepherds and make sure nobody is diabetic!)


Extra activity:

If you have extra time with the older children, have them locate the other gospel accounts of this story -- Matthew 9:1-8 and Luke 5:17-26. Call out the passage and let them race to see who can be first to find it in the Bible.


Teacher preparation in advance:

1.      Read the scripture passages and attend the Faith Quest Leaders Bible.

2.      Prepare a closing prayer. 

3.      Make a stretcher for every five children you expect to attend.


For each stretcher, you need:

2 poles, each 6 or 7 feet long. Small tree trunks and 2x2 lumber are good options.

A piece of heavy fabric, 5 to 6 feet wide and 6 to 7 feet long. Leftover upholstery fabric, old blankets and bedspreads are good sources.

Large safety pins.

Upholstery thread or other heavy thread.

A sewing machine


Spread the fabric out by its entire length. Center the poles on the fabric, about 2 feet apart. Fold the right end of the fabric over the right pole so that the center section between the two poles is now double-layered. Pin the two layers of fabric together along the pole line, making a sleeve that is just large enough to slip the pole out. Remove the pole and sew by machine along the pinned line. Use heavy thread and a large stitch. If you prefer, you can baste first, using a large needle. Slip the pole back through the sleeve to make sure it will go, then remove the pole again and sew the two layers of fabric together near the left side of the center section.


Fold the left end of the fabric over the left pole so that the center section is now triple-layered. Repeat the process of pinning and sewing the sleeve for the left pole. Finally, sew the three layers of fabric together near the right side of the center section.


Don’t worry about making your stretcher look professional; just be sure it’s strong enough to hold the children’s weight. I imagine the paralyzed man’s pallet was a pretty raggedy affair.


If your poles are rough and catch on the fabric while being slipped in and out, tape over the end of the pole for a smoother glide.


4.      Plan the courses for the game.

5.      Optional: Bring a CD or taped music for background music while you are gathering, lively music for game, meditative music for Reflection time. A boom box is located in the Puppet workshop cabinet.

6.      The map drawn on the wall of Antioch Arcade shows Capernaum. You can refer to it during story telling, or use one of the smaller maps from the two map books in the supply bin.

7.      Write the scripture memory verse on the white board or display it in the room some other way.


Supply List

Extra Bibles. See the cupboard in the puppet room.

Map (optional)

Dry-erase marker (in supply bin)

Stretchers (one for every five children)

Skittles (optional)




This workshop is adapted from a lesson plan submitted by Cathi Kennelly to the Lesson Writers Exchange, <>. Thanks, Cathi!