This is lesson continues our curriculum for preschoolers about knowing Jesus. Each lesson is based on a passage in the Gospel of Mark. You can read the series introduction for more explanation and links to the other lessons.
This particular lesson is from passages in Mark 14:1-9 where a woman anoints Jesus with costly perfume; she is scolded by others present, but Jesus reveals she has done good in anointing Him for His burial.
Bible Passage: Mark 14:1-9
Bible Lesson Title: Anointing of Jesus
Target Age Group: 4-5 years old (preschool & Kindergarten)
Target Time Frame: 37 minutes
Original Teaching Context: Preschool Sunday School
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Knowing Jesus through the Book of Mark: Lesson Twenty-Five (40 minutes)
Scripture: Mark 14:1-9
Exegetical Idea: A woman anoints Jesus with costly perfume; she is scolded by others present, but Jesus reveals she has done good in anointing Him for His burial.
Pedagogical Idea: Jesus desires for us to honor in Him in any way we are able. This woman honored Him through anointing with costly perfume.
Cognitive Aim: Preschoolers will know Jesus desires for them to honor them even now, in whatever ways they can.
Affective Aim: Preschoolers will feel great love for Jesus as they learn about the power of the cross through song.
Behavioral Aim: Preschoolers will praise Christ through song and memorize Mark 14:8.
Memory Verse: Mark 14:8, “‘She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.’”
Mark 14:1-9 Lesson Overview
- Kindle Curiosity (5 minutes) Description: Help preschoolers understand the concept of being wasteful, introduce the lesson. Supplies: Bible outfits, cookies or another yummy snack (I did not include a snack time, but if you have time, I’m sure the kids would enjoy it!).
- God Revealed (15-20 minutes) Description: Hear the Scripture passage, reenact the story. Supplies: Bible, picture of an alabaster jar (Google image search), jar covered in white/cream tissue paper, cotton balls, baby oil.
- Personal Pursuit (10 minutes) Description: Apply the lesson, worship God through song. Supplies: Marker of chalkboard, song This the Power of the Cross (link found in section below).
- Daily Knowing (10-15 minutes) Description: memorize His Word Supplies: Baby food jars, white and/or cream tissue paper, white washable glue, cotton balls, baby oil, paint brushes, notecards with memory verse written out for each child.
**Before the children arrive, have the Bible outfits ready. To prepare for today’s lesson, you need to create an alabaster jar using a plain jar and white or cream tissue paper (pictures of alabaster jars actually look more off-white than white). Fill this jar with cotton balls that have been soaked with baby oil. It does not take much baby oil to absorb the smell on each one. The children will also be doing this craft at the end of the lesson using baby food jars. If you do not have these available, feel free to use your creativity or just draw jars on paper. They could glue the cotton balls onto the paper jars.
1. Kindle Curiosity (5 minutes)
- Have the children put on their Bible outfits after they have all arrived.
- SAY: I have here a yummy plate of cookies. They are so delicious! But you know what? I think I am going to throw them in the trash…(hopefully the children will jump in with “why?!”) You do not think I should throw these cookies away? Why not? (We want to eat them, you are wasting them…)
- SAY: Yes, it would be wasteful to throw these cookies away. In today’s lesson, the people with Jesus see a woman who breaks an expensive bottle of perfume. They scold her and accuse her of being wasteful, just as you did me. But, this woman had a reason for breaking this bottle of perfume. Jesus is going to reveal what her purpose was!
2. God Revealed (15-20 minutes)
- Pray with the children. Ask God to help them to listen and experience His truth this morning as you teach from His Word. Ask God to give you the ability to help them understand His truth as you teach them this lesson.
- SAY: Today our lesson comes from Mark chapter 14, verses 1-9 (show them in your Bible.) Listen very carefully to this story so you may discover the truth!
- Read Mark 14:1-9 (NIV):
Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.”
While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume (show picture of alabaster jar), made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.
“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
- Act out the passage of the woman with the alabaster jar. Use a jar of cotton balls that have been soaked in baby oil (or any scented oil). The child who is the woman can open the jar over the head of “Jesus” so that the cotton balls fall. Emphasize the smell that is released when the cotton balls come out of the jar. The home they were in must have instantly been filled with the smell of the perfume. Several children will probably want to dump the cotton balls on each other’s heads or be dumped on, which is fine, but reign them in back to the purpose of the story.
- SAY: What this woman did was seen as wasteful. She could have sold this perfume and given the money to the poor! But what does Jesus say? Jesus recognized this as a good thing. This woman did what she could to show her love for Him while He was still here. And in doing this, she has prepared Him for burial.
3. Personal Pursuit (15 minutes)
- SAY: Jesus desires for each person to show their love for Him, to honor them, in the ways that they can. Jesus was pleased with this woman because she honored Him in the way that she could, even though the others there thought she was being wasteful. ASK: Do you think Jesus would expect you to fly across the world to be a missionary right now? (No) Why not? You are only __ years old! You cannot even drive. Jesus does not expect you to honor Him by being a missionary in another country right now. How does He desire you to honor Him? In any way that you can right now!
- Write ways on the board that preschoolers can honor Jesus right now (praising God through song, attending worship with their parents, prayer, listening to His Word, obeying their parents/authority figures, etc.)
- SAY: One day Jesus may desire you to go and serve Him in another country. But for now, He wants you to honor Him in the ways you are able.
- SAY: Now Jesus had another purpose for this woman anointing Him with the costly perfume. He said she was preparing Him for burial. The time for Jesus to die is coming very soon, though most of His followers still do not understand. Over the next few weeks, our lessons will take us into arrest, death, burial, and Resurrection of Jesus. He completes the task He came for! We are going to learn a song together over the next few weeks as we walk with Jesus through the darkest and most victorious part of His life on earth. It celebrates His conquer of sin and death so that we may have forgiveness and new life. I am going to play it now. I invite you to listen to the song without talking. Hear what they are praising Christ for. Then, as you begin to learn the words, you can sing along whenever you are ready.
- Have a time of no talking, just listening to the words of the song. After they have begun to catch on to the chorus, allow them to join in. If you have time, play it a second time, this time encouraging them to praise Christ with their full hearts as they sing of His work on the cross.
4. Daily Knowing (10-15 minutes)
- Hold up the picture of the alabaster jar. ASK: Remember this picture of the alabaster jar? It may have been a jar similar to this that held the costly perfume. We are going to make our own alabaster jars to help us remember that this woman did what she could to honor Jesus.
- Pass out the jars, tissue paper, and paint brushes. Put some glue in little bowls. Allow them to paint their jars with glue and stick on tissue paper until it is completely covered, with the exception of the lid. They can probably manage to rip up the tissue paper in small pieces by themselves. Pass out little bowls of baby oil. Allow them to dip their cotton balls in the baby oil (carefully, so as to not make a mess) and place them in their jar.
- As they are working, help them practice the memory verse by repetition: Mark 14:8, “‘She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.’”
- As the finish up, SAY: Try to open this jar a few times during the week and smell the cotton balls. The sweet smell will remind you of the love and honor the woman showed Jesus in today’s lesson. Remember to show Him love and honor in all of the ways you are able this week.
- As they leave, rub a little baby oil on the inside of their wrist. The smell will remain with them throughout the day, reminding them of the truths of this lesson.
- Make sure you review the memory verse with them the next week or when you have encounters during the week one-on-one. Remind the parents how important it is for them to help their children review their verses all throughout the week. Encourage them to memorize the verse with their children. Provide each parent with a notecard that has Mark 14:8 written on it.