Mary Magdalene was one of Jesus’ closest followers and friends. Her incredible conversion to Christ is evidenced throughout the gospel through committed and faithful service. In this third lesson of the “Forever Changed” series, children will learn how Christ’s resurrection gave Mary Magdalene increased boldness and dedication to the Lord.
TARGET AGES: 10-14
OBJECTIVE: To outline how Jesus’ resurrection made a difference in Mary Magdalene’s life.
MAIN IDEA: Mary Magdalene was a committed follower and friend of Jesus Christ. She witnessed important events regarding Jesus’ death and resurrection and used her experiences to share the gospel and serve others.
SCRIPTURE PASSAGES: Luke 8:1-3, Mark 15:37, 40-41 & 47, John 20:1-2 & 11-18
MATERIAL(S): blank greeting cards, writing utensils or markers
Introduction (10 minutes)
OPENING PRAYER: “God, help us learn from Mary Magdalene and choose obedience to your word. Thank you for dying for our sins and giving us victory over death through your resurrection. Amen.”
ICEBREAKER REVIEW AND INTRODUCTION: Say, “We have discussed how James (the brother of Jesus) and John (one of Jesus’ closest disciples and friends) were changed by Jesus’ resurrection. Today we are going to look at how Mary Magdalene, another friend of Jesus, was changed by his resurrection.” Ask the class to state any knowledge they may already have concerning Mary Magdalene (she witnessed Jesus’ death on the cross, she discovered the empty tomb, etc). Then ask for a volunteer to read Luke 8:1-3 to learn about Mary Magdalene special role as a believer. Comment, “Isn’t it amazing that someone who was demon possessed later became an active servant of Jesus and the disciples?! Mary had quite a testimony, and we will learn from today’s lesson that her commitment to the Lord continued after Christ’s resurrection.”
Lesson (20 minutes)
- First, tell the class that “Mary” was a common name in Jesus’ day, but the title “Magdalene” means “from Magdala” (a village near the Sea of Galilee) and helps us identify her unique presence within scripture. Then explain that Mary Magdalene witnessed some significant events that even many of the disciples didn’t even experience. Read Mark 15:37 & 40-41 & 47. Ask, “What two major events did Mary witness (Jesus’ death on the cross and his burial)? How did her presence display her love for Jesus (because she stayed near him even though many others had abandoned him, she risked her own life by being associated with him, etc)?” Discuss how hard it must have been for Mary to continue her service even though it was unpopular and caused her immense grief. Say, “God doesn’t want us to fear worldly consequences for our faith. Mary shows us that even though struggles and sadness come into our lives, we can trust that God is still in control and we can continue serving.”
- Next, read John 20:1-2. Ask, “What additional events did Mary Magdalene experience (she was the first to find the empty tomb and then Jesus personally appeared to her after his resurrection)? What did Mary think had happened to Jesus’ body (that someone had taken it)?” Express that Mary’s reaction was typical even though Jesus had told his disciples he would be raised from the dead because she was overcome with grief and emotionally overwhelmed. Then read John 20:11-18. Ask, “What sticks out to you about this passage (Mary saw two angels who spoke to her, she didn’t recognize Jesus at first, she was the first to see Jesus after he was resurrected, etc)? What did Mary do after Jesus appeared to her (she told the disciples)?” Emphasize that Mary responded to her encounter with Christ by immediately telling others he had been resurrected.
- Ask, “So what should we take away from Mary Magdalene’s life and experience with Christ after his resurrection?” Openly discuss the boldness we should have in our lives to tell others that Jesus is alive. Encourage the children to read their bibles and pray every day to further explore God’s unique plan for their own lives. Say, “Mary Magdalene was a normal person just like you and me, yet Jesus used her to spread the gospel and serve other believers. God also wants to use us to spread the good news of Christ’s victory over death.”
Mission Project: Encouragement Cards (15 minutes)
Say, “Mary Magdalene was intentional in her service because Christ had done so much for her. How can we serve others in light of what Christ has done for us?” Allow some time for the class to discuss possible mission projects and voice any interest to serve within the church. Consider making a list of suggestions for future projects. Comment, “One way we can serve others is by sending encouraging cards to others that express God’s love.” Provide blank greeting cards and give some written examples of appropriate greetings. Children may write short messages or draw pictures to include with the cards. Then decide as a class where the cards will be sent, such as a police station, medical clinic, or school. Say, “Serving others and sharing God’s love doesn’t have to be hard – even simple activities, like sending cards, will be used by God to draw others to him.”
Conclusion (5 minutes)
RECAP: Mary Magdalene was Jesus’ friend and actively served other believers. She was the first to find his empty tomb and see Jesus after his resurrection. Mary’s sorrow over Jesus’ death was turned into joy, and she boldly told others that he was alive.
CLOSING PRAYER: “Lord, we know we are changed because of the resurrection. Help us follow Mary Magdalene’s example of dedicated servanthood. Also, please use the cards we signed to encourage others and draw them into a relationship with you. Amen.”