Click below to download the Cornerstone Connections leader’s guide and student lesson. This week’s resources also include two lesson plans and a discussion starter video which offer different ways of looking at the topic. Each lesson plan includes opening activities, scripture passages, discussion questions, and real-life applications.
Humble Hero - Chapter 82
Woman, Why Are You Weeping
Mary of Magdala’s love of Christ gave her a special revelation: she was the first person to witness Jesus in His glorified post-death state. A lesson for us is that those who love Jesus with their whole heart and seek after Him will be given fresh revelations of God’s divine grace.
Humans have very unique experiences that make us human. Seeing the world around us, and tasting, smelling, hearing, and touching are the amazing senses God gave humans. But since we are God’s creations, He also gave us another unique ability in our life—faith. These two aspects of existance came together literally in Jesus. He was human and God. People in the time when Jesus lived on earth did not experience faith the same way we do today, because they had Jesus present with them physically. However, they needed more faith than what they had, because there were many times they questioned Jesus’ words or actions and misunderstood His mission. The death of Jesus was the greatest test of faith for His followers, but sadly they failed that test in many ways. Humans need faith, but sometimes our human qualities prevent us from fully trusting the Divine. Thankfully, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to help us in our weaknesses.
FAITH AND FROGS
Supplies: A container of toy slime
The definition of an amphibian is best understood by breaking the word into two parts. First, amphi which means dual or both kinds in Greek. Second, bian which means bio or life. Amphibian literally means both kinds of life. As we think about the human and divine aspects of Jesus, we can learn a lesson from frogs. Most types of frogs live their lives in two different environments—water and land. Frogs have the amazing ability to breathe air with their lungs and also absorb oxygen from water through their skin. They have blood vessels right at the skin surface. Frogs secrete mucous to keep their skin moist to be able to take in oxygen. That is why when you touch a frog it feels a little slimey. Give the students a lump of slime and have them close their eyes to imagine that it is a frog in their hands. Like the amazing survival abilities of a frog both on land and underwater, Jesus lived a perfect life on earth as a human and yet still God.
BIBLE STUDY GUIDE
Read each Bible passage, then discuss the questions. If you are still worshiping from home, consider discussing one or more of the questions on social media, in a Zoom meeting, or in a group chat with friends.
Read Luke 1:31-34 (NIV).
31You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
Martha’s Two Cents
Read John 11:7-21 (NIV).
7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”
9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”
11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
Jesus Comforts the Sisters of Lazarus17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles[b] from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
Peter’s Big Mouth
Read Matthew 16:21-23 (NIV).
21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” 23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
Death never seems right to us as humans, but Jesus’ death was the plan. It had to be the plan. Mary and the disciples were grieving, bewildered, and devastated by Jesus’ death, but they soon discovered an amazing miracle—Jesus is alive! Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to help His people, ensuring that their faith would continue to grow, and to offer comfort to them in His physical absense. As His followers saw the power of the Holy Spirit to heal, comfort, and change lives, they were filled with more and more faith. What looks like God is letting us down, is never God letting us down. Jesus is preparing heaven for you, the next part of His plan! Are you ready for when Jesus returns to get you?
Consider applying what you learned in this week’s lesson by doing one or all of these activities:
For a Relational Bible Study (RBS) you’ll want to get into the Scripture passage and encourage the youth to imagine participating in the story while it’s happening. Then you will be able to better apply it to your own situation today.
You will need to ask God for the Holy Spirit to be present as your small group discusses the questions (no more than 3-6 people in a group is recommended). Start with the opening question. It is a personal question and the answer is unique for each individual. There is no right answer and nobody is an expert here, so don’t be surprised when you hear different responses. You are depending on the Holy Spirit to be present and to speak through your group. Say what God prompts you to say, and listen to what others share.
Take turns reading the chapter out loud. Follow that with giving the students some time to individually mark their responses to the questions (a PDF version of the handout is available as a download). This gives each person a starting point for responding when you start to share as a group. Next, begin the discussion by asking the students to share what they marked and why on each question as you work your way through. Feel free to take more time on some questions than others as discussion warrants.
Encourage each person in the group to apply what is discussed to their personal lives and to share with the group what they believe God wants them to do. Then ask them to pray that God will help each of them to follow through in doing so. Remind them to expect that God will show them ways to live out the message of this passage in the coming week, and that they are free to ask others in the group to help hold them accountable.
Last week might have been the high point for our topics for this entire year. It doesn’t get much better than the resurrection of Jesus!
Besides all the forces of heaven and all the forces of hell, people on earth went scrambling when Christ rose from the dead. If you were a Roman soldier at the tomb, how would this have affected you in the short term and in the long term? What if you were Pilate or Caiaphas? On the other side, the disciples had gone into hiding, so they missed the whole thing. In spite of repeated attempts by Jesus to tell them earlier that He was going to die and then be resurrected, they still hadn’t caught on to this reality. Before we get down on the disciples, who do you know who predicted their death and resurrection, and then went through both?
But what happened next? This week’s Bible study starts this new reality. The Roman soldiers were the first humans to see the resurrected Christ (if they were looking after falling like dead men simply when the angel appeared—Matthew 28:4). All four Gospels emphasize different items. You can check them out in Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24 (next week’s lesson), and John 20—our passage for this week’s lesson.
We’re calling this lesson “Where’s Jesus?” not like “Where’s Waldo?” as if Jesus is in the midst of a crowd and it’s hard to find Him. It’s more like playing peekaboo or hide-and-seek, and nobody is seeing Jesus (yet). Have you ever looked for Jesus and not been able to find Him? Could you miss Him when He’s in plain sight? Are you too fast and you move on instead of waiting for Him? Are you more like Mary Magdalene, or John, or Peter?
Would you rather play “peekaboo” or “hide-and-go-seek”?
Read John 20:1-18.
1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen.
8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
1. Why was Mary the first person at the tomb Sunday morning?
2. Why couldn’t anyone find the body of Jesus?
3. What did both disciples “believe” after they entered the tomb and “saw”?
4. Why did Jesus appear to Mary first?
5. Why didn’t the angels help Peter or John or Mary find Jesus?
6. Why did Jesus tell Mary, “Touch me not” (vs. 17 KJV, TLB)?
7. When have you looked for Jesus, but you couldn’t find him?
8. When have you “seen the Lord” in an “aha” moment like Mary?
Once again, everything is different with Jesus. Two of His “inner-circle” disciples missed Him after hearing of His resurrection by a woman who had a sullied past. Yet, of all the people in the entire world, Jesus chose to appear first of all to that very woman. It doesn’t take much of an imagination to see Mary refusing to ever let Jesus leave again. But she finally did at His instruction. Mary Magdalene became the first “apostle” (one sent) by telling the remaining 11 disciples the good news of Christ’s resurrection and His promise to meet with them in Galilee. Today there are people who believe in Christ’s resurrection, and there continue to be people who don’t believe. In which category are you?
If you’re a believer, what leads you to believe? If you’re not a believer, what leads you to not believe? Maybe you’re like most people and bounce between believing and not believing—depending on what has happened lately to you. Choose one of these applications so the Bible story becomes true for you, just like it was 2,000 years ago.
Mary “hit the target” when it came to seeing Jesus, and she only went to the tomb to place spices on Christ’s dead body. But she stayed by while others who came took a quick look and left.
Three of Christ’s closest followers got mentioned in this week’s lesson. While Mary Magdalene served as the primary character, Peter and John also went to the tomb. You can’t say that about the other disciples!
Usually when we hear the word “incredible” we think of something positively amazing, as in, “You’re incredible!” The technical meaning of the word comes from the two parts of the word: in (not) credible (believable). That’s hardly positive. Do you know some “incredible people,” as in, you simply wouldn’t believe them because they lack credibility? If so, that’s your “Mary Magdalene.” Her testimony for being the first to see, talk with, and cling to the risen Christ makes her testimony “incredible”—both in the positive sense (Wow!) and the negative sense (Who would believe her, especially saying that?).
Daniel has returned to warn an unstable ruler, King Nebuchadnezzar, of an unsettling future. In the beautiful land of Babylon, something dark is soon to occur. A man will lose his grip with reality and become a beast. He must then find a way to regain his sanity. This is the fourth in the 12-book series of comic books chronicling Daniel’s Adventures of Danger and Dreams.
Birthday in a Box
Spread birthday joy at shelters. Collect and assemble birthday candles, cake mix, frosting, decorations, plates, cups, napkins, and a simple toy or two in a box. Decorate the box.
Cost: Less than $10.00
Sock Collection for Homeless
Give the item most requested at homeless shelters. Collect and donate white crew socks for men, women, and children.
Cost: Less than $5.00
Paper Bag Decorating for Meals on Wheels / Food Bank Snack Pack
Add pizzazz to lunch for seniors. In addition to receiving the hot portion of the meal in a tray, Meals on Wheels recipients get the cold portion in a lunch bag. Add life to their meals by decorating lunch bags. Simply buy paper lunch bags and use your creativity, crayons, markers, stickers, or any art materials you have on hand.
Cost: Less than $5.00