Jesus is Anointed at Bethany: Children’s Sermon and Object Lesson from John 12:1-8

Introduce children to the story of Jesus’ anointing in John 12:1-8 with this fun, interactive children’s sermon. This lesson includes a printable Bible storybook and object lesson, plus engaging activities to help kids learn more about what happened. With these resources, you can teach kids all about how Jesus was anointed as king and how his ministry would come to an end. Use this object lesson when teaching our free 30-minute on John 12:1-8 Sunday School lesson on the Anointing of Jesus by Mary.

Children’s Message on Mary’s Anointing of Christ from John 12:1-8 ESV

Main Lesson Objective: What would you give Jesus at a dinner party? What kind of present could possibly be worthy of the savior of the universe? This message encourages children to consider how they can love and serve the Lord by offering their lives to Him. He wants us to be close to Him and values us for who we are. In the Bible story, Mary was willing to give an extravagant gift to Jesus because she knew that He was worth more than anything else. Discuss items of personal or monetary value to show that God loves and values us, and we should value Him above all else.

Law/Gospel Theme: Jesus is a priceless treasure, but He treasures us, as well! God loves us enough to sacrifice Himself and die for our sins. Jesus gave His whole life for our sake, to rescue us from death. Our response is to love and serve Christ, not because He cruelly demands it or threatens punishment, but because we are thankful for His saving work.

Optional Materials: Items or pictures of items that are valuable, both in earthly value and personal worth.

Bible Passage: John 12:1-8

More Bible Teaching Ideas on the Anointing of Jesus at Bethany:

Children’s Sermon Note: Adjust to your particular preferences and needs, as with every suggested message. This lesson involves using something of personal and/or monetary worth.)

Jesus was anointed by slipping oil upon his head. This lesson will teach your children about the importance of being chosen and how it happened in John 12:1-8 with this fun, interactive Children’s Sermon! With activities like a printable Bible storybook plus object lessons they can learn more than just what happened during these events but also why Jesus had that special title for himself as well down some other amazing facts too

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

Greet students, holding item(s) of value or pictures representing them. Hello, children of God! What are some things that are valuable? What does it mean for something to have value? Usually, we refer to this term when talking about something that is worth a lot, maybe a lot of money. For instance, this (hold up picture or item of expensive worth) is something that costs a lot of money. Many people would call it a valuable item. But I have something else here that is very valuable to me. Hold up something that is not costly, but of personal value. This probably isn’t worth much money, but it’s incredibly valuable to me. Someone I love very much gave this to me, so it has deep personal meaning. I keep it and cherish it because it makes me think of (said person). There are a lot of things in our lives that we really can’t put a price tag on.

Have you ever given or received a special gift? What made it valuable or important to you? Here’s another question: if you were going to give JESUS a present, what do you think you would give Him? What could possibly be worthy of the savior of the universe? Well, there’s a story in the Bible about someone who gave Jesus a special gift. Jesus had come to have dinner at the home of Lazarus, who He raised from the dead. Martha and Mary (the sisters of Lazarus) were there, and Mary did something very special for Jesus. She took a special expensive perfume, and poured it on Him. In fact, she put it on His feet, and then she wiped it with her hair! There are a few things here that might sound strange to us. For one thing, why would perfume oil cost so much? It was worth about a year’s salary! Well, this was a special oil that was normally used in burial. In those days, people would put a lot of perfumes and embalming oils on bodies before placing them in tombs. Mary was, in a sense, getting Jesus ready for His death! That may seem odd to us, but Jesus deeply treasured the act. One of the disciples, Judas, criticized her for it, saying the money should have been spent helping the poor. Well, that wasn’t really what Judas wanted, because he was a thief and traitor, but he acted like that was his intention. Jesus told Judas that Mary’s actions were beautiful. She had shown Jesus her love and care, and done something that was precious in His sight. Jesus appreciated that the anointing was done out of her heart and from a place of genuine care.

You know, Jesus values us, too. He loves and blesses every gift that we bring. The great thing is that we don’t have to bring expensive fancy offerings to Him. Sometimes we might tithe to the church or help someone in a monetary way, but Jesus wants YOU. He wants your heart, your time, your talents, and your love. All that we have comes from Him, and we can show gratitude by giving back to Him. This might mean something as simple as praying or reading God’s word. It might be helping and serving others. Maybe you don’t think you’re very important, or don’t think God can use you. But He has made you and loves you! Jesus can do amazing things with our lives when we are willing to be used by Him. So offer Him yourself! Pray for God to show you how you can be a gift. Jesus is worth more than anything we might buy. He also thinks you are worth more than anything!  Let’s say a prayer to thank God for valuing us, and ask Him to help us love and serve Him:

Children’s Prayer Moment:

(Have kids pray repeat each line, if desired)
Dear God,
You are more valuable than anything else
Please help us to honor and prize you.
We offer you all of who we are
Help us to serve and honor you
Thank you for loving us
We love you, God!  Thank you for Jesus. In His name, Amen!

Bible Verses / Scripture Story to Reference: John 12:1-8 ESV

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. 3 Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. 7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. 8 For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”   -John 12:1-8

John 12:1-8 NIrV Kids Bible Story

It was six days before the Passover Feast. Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived. Lazarus was the one Jesus had raised from the dead.  (2)  A dinner was given at Bethany to honor Jesus. Martha served the food. Lazarus was among those at the table with Jesus.  (3)  Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard. It was an expensive perfume. She poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the sweet smell of the perfume.  (4)  But Judas Iscariot didn’t like what Mary did. He was one of Jesus’ disciples. Later he was going to hand Jesus over to his enemies. Judas said,  (5)  “Why wasn’t this perfume sold? Why wasn’t the money given to poor people? It was worth a year’s pay.”  (6)  He didn’t say this because he cared about the poor. He said it because he was a thief. Judas was in charge of the money bag. He used to help himself to what was in it.  (7)  “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “The perfume was meant for the day I am buried.  (8)  You will always have the poor among you. But you won’t always have me.”

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL READER’S VERSION®. Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Jesus Anointed at Bethany for Kids

(Mark 14:1–9; Luke 7:36–50; John 12:1–8; Matthew 26:6-13)

Why was Jesus anointed at Bethany? It’s not a mystery. When we look closely, there are some mysteries that can only be revealed by looking back in history and understanding what they mean for today’s world–that is why I want you all here with me as we explore this together!

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