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 (Desire of Ages)
Chapter 62 - Mary Anoints Jesus
For Simon, having Mary pour perfume on Jesus’ feet was scandalous. For those of us who, like Mary, feel the need for forgiveness, it represents an act of lavish love and grace.
It’s an eye-opening experience reading the story for this week’s lesson from the perspective of each of the four Gospel writers—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Mary’s heart is bursting with love for her Savior, Jesus, who has forgiven all her sins. In the corner you see greedy Judas Iscariot, wishing that the expensive perfume had been sold and the proceeds donated to Jesus’ ministry, which would allow him to steal “his portion” as the group’s money bag manager. Jealous chief priests are whispering about their plans to kill Lazarus, because too many people were believing in Jesus after witnessing him being raised from the dead. Simon the Pharisee, is voicing his doubts about Jesus being a true prophet, because if He was, wouldn’t He refuse to let Mary touch Him knowing that she is a sinner? A lot of judgmental words are being spoken and quiet scheming is taking place. Jesus looks at each heart and knows the real motives. He looks at our hearts, too. Living authentically is God’s plan for His people, but why is being genuine sometimes a struggle? Who is the real you?
WHAT IS IT?
Supplies Needed: Paper; pens; plates; cups; napkins; spoons; forks; small dip cups; various tester items—lemonade and water with a lemon squeezed in; sour cream and Cool Whip; zucchini slices and cucumber slices (with ranch dressing); apple juice and sparkling white grape juice
Before you meet, take a small amount of each of the tester samples and place them on the serving items (plates, cups, dip cups). There are eight items, but place four, one from each pair as listed, on large serving plates and number the plates 1 and 2. Try to make each of the paired items listed look like they are the same thing. Try covering the zucchini and cucumber slices with a light layer of ranch dressing to disguise them. Keep the tester items out of sight or covered with a paper towel before the activity.
Have everyone form pairs by counting off 1,2; 1,2. Give each person a paper and pen. Do not give anyone the impression that the items on plates labeled 1 or 2 are different, but that they are simply labeled for each partner to get one. Have the 1’s from each pair taste their #1 plates, and the 2’s likewise with their #2 plates. They will each secretly write down what they think the item is. After all the tester items have been tasted, then the pairs will compare their notes. They will discover that their answers are different.
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 Proverbs 26:24-26.
24 Enemies disguise themselves with their lips, but in their hearts they harbor deceit. 25 Though their speech is charming, do not believe them, for seven abominations fill their hearts. 26 Their malice may be concealed by deception, but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
Six Things the Lord Hates!
Read Proverbs 6:16-19 (NIV).
16 There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
Keeping it Real with Jesus
Read 2 Timothy 3:12-15 (NIV).
12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
Misjudging people and bad motives have caused problems since the very beginning. Eve misjudged God, because the serpent’s words made her question what she had been told. Abraham misjudged God when he decided to have a baby with his wife’s maid rather than wait for Sarai to produce an heir. Jesus was one of the most misjudged people ever, because even the most religious leaders would not accept Him as the Promised One, the Messiah, the Savior. Today, as followers of Jesus, we are misjudged, too. Many religious people misjudge what day the Sabbath is or how to observe it. Seventh-day Adventists are misjudged as legalistic for keeping Sabbath on Saturday instead of following the tradition of Sunday-keeping. God’s true followers have faced countless challenges throughout history, but the truth in the Bible still shines into darkness and the darkness will never overcome it. From now until Jesus comes back, there will be situations where people will judge Christians as trouble-makers or strange, but having faith in Jesus and keeping God’s Word in our hearts will be the armor that comforts and protects us.
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.
The history between Mary Magdalene and Jesus goes way back. Mary and her family were very close friends of Jesus and took Him into their home, essentially making Him like another member of their family. As we can probably recall, Jesus resurrected Lazarus from the dead and, according to Bible scholars, Mary was the woman that Jesus rid of the 7 demons in Luke 8:2. According to this backstory, most will perceive this family, and by extension Mary, as respectable people. However, this was not the case. Mary, more commonly known as Mary Magdalene, was a well-known prostitute from Magdala and an outcast in the eyes of the Jewish leaders. To be seen fraternizing with the likes of her was severely frowned upon, especially to one claiming to be the Messiah. However, this did not stop Mary from expressing her love and gratitude to her Savior and putting a symbolic end to her sinful life by pouring her perfume on His feet and using her hair to dry it, two important assets of her lifestyle. Jesus, never one to waste an opportunity to make something a learning experience, promptly called out the nay-sayers on their negativism, and praised Mary on her act.
Up to this point in His ministry, Jesus has been hounded by Jewish leaders murmuring and trying but failing to plot His demise. However, shortly after this encounter the first step in a chain of events leading up to Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice occurs: Judas, one of the 12 disciples, agrees to betray Jesus in exchange for money. Judas was considered the “richest” or “most accomplished” of the 12, but he was sleazy, looking for personal gain. As you and your youth study this lesson, make sure to reflect on the character traits portrayed by each character in the story, and value the eternal gain over the earthly one.
One Selfless Woman, One Selfish Man
What is your most prized possession?
Read Mark 14:3-11.
3 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, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. 11 They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
1. Whose house was Jesus at?
2. What was so special about the jar Mary had?
3. What did Mary do with the perfume?
4. What is significant about Jesus’ response to the murmurs?
5. Who was Judas and what did he do in v. 10?
6. What were the Jewish leaders plotting?
7. What is a significant difference between Mary’s and Judas’ actions in this story?
8. How can we exude the type of selflessness Mary portrayed in this story?
The paradox of this week’s story lies in our two main characters: Mary and Judas. Mary was a “sinful” woman who was to be avoided, but she performed an act of love like no other and obtained her salvation at the feet of the Savior. Judas was a highly respected man, possibly the “most credible” among the disciples, but in reality, he was a selfish man who had not truly let Jesus into his heart. Mary was willing to release her earthly possessions for her eternal gain, but Judas gave away his eternal life for pride of his own opinion, and a little monetary gain. This story provides the opportunity for us as today’s youth to open our eyes to what is truly valuable in this life: fostering our relationship with our Savior.
The story of Mary’s selflessness and Judas’ selfishness is relevant to modern life in so many different ways. It is always a necessary part of studying to sit back and meditate on how a story applies to us today. Below you will find three applications that can benefit the youth in your group and help them meditate on the Word shared today. These applications work both individually and in a group.
Understanding & Relating to Latino/a Youth
By Jennifer Guerra Aldana & Marcos Canales
You know how important it is to engage young people in your church. But how? Even when we bring our best intentions to these conversations, the dialogue somehow flops.
This comprehensive 43-page guide is the perfect handbook for any adult looking for a starting point in conversations with today’s Latina/o youth. The handbook is translated in English and Spanish. It includes an overview of the reality Latina/o youth face, fundamental principles of conversation, plus 30+ questions and ideas for next steps.
Help eliminate hunger. Purchase ready to eat and easy to open food items and assemble them in resealable plastic bags. Donate to shelters or use for street ministry.
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Re-use plastic bags for a great cause. Save plastic bags and convert them into a sleeping mat for the homeless.
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Help small children learn at home. This easy sew bean bag craft can help children learn alphabets, numbers, or shapes.
Cost: Less than $5.00