Jesus Anointed at Bethany (John 12:1-8) Children’s Sermon

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How much is Jesus worth to you? Is there anything too costly to lay at his feet? This children’s message from John 12:1-8 will show children that Jesus is the greatest treasure. Nothing compares to the value of HIM.

All for Jesus: What is most valuable?

Main Objective: On the surface, the story in this gospel lesson sounds a little strange. Why would you pour perfume over someone’s feet and wipe it up with your hair? The main point, though, has to do with value and worth.

At younger ages, children are still coming into a concept of how much things cost and what it means to buy them, but most can appreciate the idea that all things require money of some sort. What we want to communicate here is that Jesus is worth more than any price tag. At the end of the day money is just paper and stuff will wear out. What matters is putting Christ first and foremost and recognizing His value above all else.

Use our download links above to grab the printable PDF version of this children’s message. Bring along a bottle of perfume or oil for a engaging object lesson on Jesus’ Annointing.

Law/Gospel Theme: Everything has a cost, and the cost of our sins should be death. Because of Jesus, we have received life instead! That is worth more than any monetary amount. As we recognize and appreciate that, we should want to place Jesus first in our lives by making sure whatever we do goes back to Him.

Object Lesson Materials: Perfume; oil; new popular toy (or picture of one)

Note: All elements are open to adjustment. Cater to the needs and ages of your group

Update 3/2022: We’ve posted a new Mary anoints Jesus youth group lesson and John 12:1-8 Sunday School lesson for kids.

Children’s Sermon on John 12:1-8

Come to deliver the message and greet children

“Good morning! I have a question for you…what is the most expensive thing you can think of? (allow responses)

Yes, those things might cost a lot. Here’s another question: if someone handed you a whole bunch of money, what do you think you’d like to buy? (Again, take a couple of answers)

Those things sound great. Or maybe, if you received a birthday check, you’d like to get a… (display toy or picture) like this one?

Well, we see a lot of people these days earning and spending money for things…sometimes it seems like people pay a lot for things that shouldn’t cost all that much.  For example, perfume.

Now I have here a little bottle of perfume. I’m wearing it now, in fact, can you smell it? This bottle cost more than I would have liked for a few ounces of scented liquid, but you know I was looking at some other types of perfume, and there are some people out there who are willing to pay a LOT for perfume.

For example, there’s this one called “Joy” that is $800 for one ounce. It uses 10,000 jasmine flowers and 336 roses in every ounce of it. There’s another brand called “Clive Christian number one” and it is over $2,000 just for an ounce! It also has aromas of bergamot, natural gum resin, orris, vanilla, sandalwood, and extracts of ylang ylang…whatever all of that is. Oh, and then there is “Chanel Grand Extrait” which is $4,200 per ounce. This seems a little outrageous, if you ask me.

In the gospel story today, there is a woman who brought some perfume to Jesus. Well, it was really a special oil (hold up oil) that might have looked sort of like this. It was used to prepare people for being buried, and came from something called a spikenard plant. This woman poured it on Jesus’s feet, and wiped it up with her hair. She was willing to give a costly ointment for the One she knew was the Messiah.

If you remember, someone else brought Jesus an expensive ointment at the beginning of His life…it was called Myrrh (the wise men). Now at the end of His life, this woman is also bringing ointment.  Judas criticized her for wasting such an expensive item, but Jesus defended her actions and reminded everyone that He was worth more than money.

What can we learn from this passage? Does this mean we should go around spending money or we should pour perfume on the pastor’s feet? Of course not! What it means is that nothing is worth more than Jesus. All of the fancy things and all of the money we have, at the end of the day, is just silly. The only thing worth living for and pursuing is Christ. How do we do that? Well, we read the Bible and pray, of course. And when it comes to making decisions or doing things, we can ask ourselves if we are doing something that honors or points back to Him. We can ask for God’s help making Him our top priority. We need to be willing to give everything for Him, because He gave everything for us. That’s worth celebrating!

Optional take home: Scratch n’ sniff stickers to remember the story; small price tags with “you’re priceless!” written across.

Prayer:  Offer thanks that God gives us all we need, and ask for help to put Him first:
(Have kids repeat each line, if desired)

Dear God,
You are worth more than all riches
Help us to remember that
And to always put you first in our lives
Thank you for loving us
Thank you for your son Jesus
In His name we pray, Amen

Bible Verses to Reference (or for additional exploration):

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. -Matthew 6:33

John 12:1-8 (Anointing of Jesus; criticism by Judas)

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Illustration on this lesson is from Used with permission.

For more information on ridiculously expensive perfume, check out this article:

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