NBC SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR FEBRUARY 14, 2021 : TOPIC – MARY MAGDALENE: A FAITHFUL DISCIPLE
NBC SUNDAY SCHOOL OUTLINE
SUNDAY, 14TH FEBRUARY, 2021
MARY MAGDALENE: A FAITHFUL DISCIPLE
Devotional Reading: Romans 4:13-25
Background Scriptures: Mark 15:40; 16:1-9; Luke 8:1-3; John 20:10-18
Lesson Scripture: Luke 8:1-3; Mark 15:40; John 20:10-18
After this, Jesus travelled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out. – Luke 8:1-2
By the end of the lesson, class members should be able to:
• Discuss the personality of Mary Magdalene and her encounter with Jesus Christ;
• Identify the roles of Mary Magdalene and other women and how they faithfully supported the Ministry of Jesus Christ;
• Write their commitments to support the ministry in whatever way possible.
Towards the end of each year, my church organizes a special programme for couples. Usually, the programme features different funs like riddles, games, quiz, debate and other interesting events. Last year, one of the topics for discussion was “Who is More Committed to the Things of God, Men or Women”? The discussants consisted two men and two women. The women mentioned some biblical examples of women who contributed meaningfully to the success of Jesus’ ministry like Mary the mother of Jesus Christ, Salome, Mary the mother of James, Joanna the wife of Cuza, who was manager of Herod’s household, Susana and the Samaritan woman. They also made reference to Mary Magdalene whom they described as a faithful follower of Jesus Christ from the moment she received her deliverance. All these were women who, in their own time, contributed to the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ or played unique roles. They faithfully followed Jesus Christ until His crucifixion and after His burial. Therefore, our focus today is centred on Mary Magdalene and her role in the Ministry of Jesus Christ. The lesson is a call to all Christians to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.
THE LESSON EXPLAINED
A. WOMEN WHO ACCOMPANIED JESUS CHRIST – LUKE 8:1-3
During Jesus’ earthly ministry, He travelled through many towns and villages, teaching and preaching the good news about the kingdom of God. Consequently, He had many companions, apart from His regular twelve disciples. He was not prejudiced in any way but showed concern for al (women inclusive). In particular, He showed concern for those who were dishonoured by the religious leaders including Mary Magdalene who had been delivered of seven evil spirits and healed of diseases, Joanna the wife of Cuza who was the manager of Herod’s household, Susana and many other women whose names were not mentioned. It is categorically stated that these women financially supported Jesus’ ministry and that of His disciples (v. 3). The prominence of Mary Magdalene, as a leader, is in the fact that her name was mentioned more often than that of others, and usually first among the women.
Jesus’ ministry was hitherto centred in Capernaum, where His preaching was mostly done in the synagogues, even though He travelled from one place to another. Predominantly, Mary Magdalene was distinguished from other women. According to the passage, she is described as one from whom seven demons were cast out by Jesus Christ (Mark 16:9; Luke 8:2). She was one of the few women who stood and watched Jesus’ crucifixion and also saw Jesus on the resurrection morning. Obviously, she was committed to the ministry of Jesus Christ and this was proven by her ability to support Him alongside other women with their resources. She was truly a faithful disciple of Jesus. Even today, women are known for their zeal, love and devotion to God and His kingdom work. They serve God with their gifts, substances and time, even when it is sometimes not convenient. Therefore, every Christian woman should endeavour to show more commitment to Jesus Christ and the ministry, like Mary Magdalene in today’s passage.
• What are some common excuses women give today for their lack of commitment to the things of God?
• Describe the credibility of Mary Magdalene in comparison with some women who after receiving their miracles forget about Jesus Christ.
B. WOMEN WATCH JESUS’ CRUCIFIXION – MARK 15:40
As earlier predicted, Jesus Christ was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve. He was presented before the Sanhedrin and later to Pilate, who handed Him over to be crucified (Mark 15:15). Finally, he was led to a place called Golgotha (which means the place of the skull) to be crucified. He was mocked by the soldiers, the chief priest and the teachers of law. Jesus’s death was gruesome. He cried but with a loud voice and breathed His last (v. 37). According to the passage, some women watched the scene keenly from a distance; they were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons (Mathew 27:56).
The role of the women in Jesus’s ministry cannot be overemphasized. Apart from the fact that they supported Jesus Christ and His disciples in meeting their needs, they waited patiently and witnessed His crucifixion from a distance, probably for fear of being accused by His enemies. They were possibly those who gathered with the disciples and Jesus’ family after the resurrection. Other faithful women were Mary the mother of James and Joses, and Salome. These women faithfully followed Jesus Christ until He was crucified. Other references to Mary Magdalene’s roles in the ministry of Jesus Christ was that she followed Jesus Christ from Galilee and ministered to Him (Mathew 27:56), she beheld the crucifixion from afar (Mark 15:40), stood by the cross (John 19:25), and watched the tomb (Mathew 27:61). She also came with other women early to the tomb with spices to anoint the body of Jesus Christ (Mark 16:1; John 20:1), she was the first to see the risen Lord (Mark 16:9), and reported the resurrection story to the disciples (Luke 24:10; John 20:18). All these are proofs of Mary Magdalene’s faithfulness and commitment to the ministry, as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
• How can women in our churches be motivated to spread the Gospel with their resources?
• Enumerate the contributions of Mary Magdalene in the Ministry of Jesus Christ.
C. MARY MAGDALENE SAW THE RISEN LORD – JOHN 20:10-18
The commitment of Mary Magdalene and the other women to Jesus’ ministry did not stop at the scene of His crucifixion. Even though Jesus’ disciples had return home after the death of Jesus Christ (v. 10), Mary Magdalene stood outside the tomb weeping aloud. Just then, she looked into the tomb and saw two angelic beings dressed in white robes, sitting at the head and feet where Jesus was laid. They said to her, “Women, why are you crying?” (v. 13) “They have taken my Lord away” she replied. “And I do not know where they have put Him.” Suddenly, she saw Jesus Christ but she did not recognize Him immediately until He called her. “Woman”, he said, “Why are you crying? Who is it to you are looking for?” Mary would have thought He was one of the gardeners and so she demanded to know where Jesus’ body had been taken. According to verse 16, Jesus Christ turned and said, “Mary.” She turned towards Him and cried aloud in Aramaic language, “Rabboni” (which is interpreted Teacher). Mary was excited and wanted to cling to Him but Jesus refused and said to her, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet retuned to my Father…” (v. 17). However, He instructed her to go and tell the disciples of His return to His Father. Unless Jesus Christ returns to His Father, He would not have been able to accomplish His promise of sending the Holy Spirit (John 16:7).
The dialogue between the risen Lord and Mary Magdalene, according to the passage is fascinating. Her determination to see Jesus’ body perhaps for the purpose of anointing Him confirms the fact that she was truly a faithful disciple. Even though the disciples had gone back home after Jesus’ crucifixion, she was determined to still see His body and pay her last respect. Interestingly, just as the Samaritan woman was among the first to whom Jesus Christ revealed His Messiahship (John 4:25-26), Mary Magdalene a former demon-possessed woman was the first to witness Jesus’ resurrection. Noteworthy in the passage is that Mary Magdalene did not keep the good news of the risen Lord to herself. Like the Samaritan woman, after her encounter with the Lord, she hurriedly went to the disciples and said to them: “I have seen the Lord!” Then, she related everything Jesus Christ had said to her (v. 20).
• List the people that were consistently said to be present with Jesus Christ, even after His death. What does it indicate about their faithfulness and loyalty to Jesus Christ?
• Discuss what actually motivated Mary’s dedication and commitment to the risen Lord.
FELLOWSHIP AND MINISTRY BUILDING ACTIVITIES
• Identify a woman, preferably in your church, who you can describe as a faithful disciple like Mary Magdalene and write a letter of commendation to her.
• Let the class sing a Hymn of commitment to God.
• All believers, whether male or female are called to support God’s work.
• We should emulate the examples of Mary Magdalene who was dedicated to the Ministry of Jesus Christ.
• The resurrection story of Jesus is real.
• We are encouraged to support all the ministries in our churches.
• The crucifixion of Jesus Christ was gruesome but the experience brought about salvation to humankind.
• It is the responsibility of Christians to proclaim the good news of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.