This free Bible lesson is based on Mark 9:30-37 when Jesus talks about being first and last. It is designed for children’s church or Sunday School. Please modify as best fits your ministry.
If your church follows the Revised Common Lectionary, this teaching plan would correspond to Year B – 17th Sunday after Pentecost, Gospel Reading – Mark 9:30-37.
Lesson – First and Last
Supplies – building blocks, objects of varying weight (books, supply containers, etc), small prizes
(Keep watch as the children play the following games for some winners – Most Encouraging, Most Joyful, and Best Teamwork.)
Today’s lesson is going to be a little bit different. We actually have a few games we are going to play, and we even have some prizes for the winners. Are you ready?
Game 1: Balance
Stand up, then lift one foot up off the ground, and hook one arm under your knee to keep that foot up. If your foot touches the ground or you lean on or touch something, you’re out. Ready? Go!
Great job! Are you ready for your next test?
Game 2: Teamwork
I am going to choose a partner for you to work with, and together you will have two minutes to build a tower as tall as you can. Ready? Go!
Awesome work! On to our next test.
Game 3: Strength
This time we are testing your strength. I need everyone to choose one of these objects, and when I say go, you will hold it high above your head, no bending elbows. Ready? Go!
Amazing! Ok, last test.
Game 4: Love
For our final test, when I say go, I want you to go around the room and tell each person something you like about them. Ready? Go!
Great job everyone!
Y’all did an amazing job! And I think you deserve some prizes. Are you ready?
Our first prize is for Most Encouraging, and it goes to __________!
Our next prize is for Most Joyful, and it goes to __________!
Next we have a prize for Best Teamwork, and it goes to __________ and __________!
Great job! Let’s give them a round of applause!
Did I miss out on any awards? Raise your hand if you expected the prizes to go to those who won the games. That’s normally how it works, isn’t it? The person who can run the fastest, jump the highest, and lift the most gets the prize. But there is one man who thought it should be a little bit different. Any guesses? Jesus!
Jesus was talking to His disciples one day and He heard them arguing about which one of the was the best. So Jesus stepped in to end the argument. Jesus said that those who are last on earth, will be first in heaven, and those who are first here, will be last.
That probably sounds a little bit confusing to you, so listen closely.
Usually when we win something everyone knows and celebrates us. If you win an Olympic race you get a gold medal. If you win the Superbowl, you get a ring. If you win an Oscar, you get a trophy. And with all of those wins, you get lots of attention.
And while winning all of those is great, Jesus says you have already gotten your award. All the praise and attention you received on earth is your award, but it won’t matter in heaven.
Then Jesus told them about the winning that really matters. Do you know what He wants you to win at? Serving others.
When you help those in need. When you do the jobs no one else wants to do. When you encourage others and make them feel special. Jesus wants you to win at serving.
It was a hard lesson to learn for the disciples, so it will be a hard lesson for us too. But just like learning anything else, we have to practice. Look for ways to serve others everyday and everywhere. And even though you won’t get a trophy or a round of applause, Jesus will be cheering you on, and that’s better than ANY prize you could ever get.
Activity A – First and Last – Bible Verse Challenge
Supplies – Bibles
Verse – Mark 9:35
Pass out Bibles to students. Bibles should be closed and sitting on the table face up in front of each child. When you say go, have the kids look up this week’s Bible verse. As each child finds the verse, have them stick one finger on the verse and quietly raise their other hand. The first one to find the verse gets to read it to the rest of the class.
Help younger kids and new kids find the verse by following these steps.
Look in the Table of Contents for the book you are looking for. Make an effort to show them if it is found in the Old Testament or New Testament to help them in the future. Then open the Bible to the page number listed in the Table of Contents.
Show them the large numbers in the text, known as the chapters. Flip through pages until you find the large chapter number you are looking for.
Then scan through the text with them pointing out the smaller verse numbers until the correct number is found.
Activity B – First and Last – First Charades
Supplies – none
Divide the class into small groups of 2-3. Give them a few minutes to plan out a short silent skit showing a way we can be first in the eyes of Jesus. Then let each group perform and see if the others can figure it out.
Closing Prayer – First and Last
Ask for a volunteer to pray for the class before leaving, and encourage them to ask God to show them ways that they can be first in His eyes.