If I’ve got this all in order right the Mary, Martha, and Lazarus story is the last Bible lesson to teach before heading into Easter with my Sunday School class. We learned about Jesus healing the man at the pool, and now we’re going to learn about Jesus’ friendship with people who aren’t his disciples.
Are you a Mary or a Martha?
When Jesus visited their home Mary sat and listened to Jesus, while Martha was busy doing things for Jesus. Do you sit and be with a person or are you busy doing stuff for the person?
I’ll admit I’m a Martha. I like to do, I like to be busy. I’m not good at just sitting and being with someone. It’s a common complaint from my friends because I just don’t focus well. I have to be doing two things at once.
When you read the story of Mary and Martha, you’ll notice Jesus doesn’t tell Martha what she’s doing is wrong. Because it isn’t; it isn’t wrong to serve others. But, it is wrong to put doing stuff for others over the actual person.
How should Christians grieve? Look at the death of Lazarus
Jesus cried when Lazarus died.
I’ve dealt with a lot of grief. Sometimes when your friend or family member has died people feel the need to say “They’re in a better place now” as if that makes it okay, and you shouldn’t be crying.
I’ve even run into one or two Christians who think you shouldn’t grieve because you’ll see them again in heaven.
Look at Jesus’ response. He cried. He knew what was about to happen. Jesus knew Lazarus was coming back to life in a few minutes, but He still cried. He grieved with his friends.
So yes, feel sad when your friend dies because they are not there with you. There is some joy because you know where they are, but there is still sadness, and it’s okay to grieve and be sad.
There’s not really a lot to do with the first part of this story. I don’t think my kids would enjoy sitting around and cleaning for Martha, so we skipped straight to Lazarus’ resurrection.
This is the version I’ll be doing with my Sunday School class. A Lazarus relay race wrapping a volunteer in toilet paper as grave clothes. We did this Lazarus race a few years ago at a VBS (notice how little my kids are, Princess lived in that dress when she was younger).
But, for just my kids, we did a different version. I gathered some fabric I’d torn into bandages for a Good Samaritan game, and they each got a stuffed animal.
Then they had to wrap the animal up in his grave clothes. They thoroughly enjoyed it, but discovered the moose was a little hard to wrap.
Then we did a bit of mapwork for the lesson. I was doing it from memory, and I’d had Jesus up in Galilee when he gets the news of Lazarus’ sickness, but when I reread the story he’s actually down in Judea somewhere. So I’m partially posting this to emphasize checking your facts as you’re teaching the lesson, and that everyone makes mistakes, even us super awesome rock star amazing bloggers (you did catch the sarcasm in that, right? Wouldn’t it be awesome if they made a sarcasm font?).
We did one last activity with this lesson, learning how to read a map key is a very useful geography skill for kids to learn, so we used the key on our map to find where in particular the story happened and the reference in the Bible (our map is the Ministry of Jesus map from Wondermaps (affiliate link))
Mary, Martha, and Lazarus resources
- Mary, Martha, and Lazarus printable
- Bible Eyewitness Collector’s Set – Old Testament (Adventures in Odyssey Classics #3)
- Buck Denver Asks: What’s in the Bible? Volume Ten – Jesus is the Good News!
- Lazarus Sunday School lesson
- Lazarus craft
I always try to time our Gospel lessons so we end with Lazarus’ death and head straight into our Easter devotional, but if you want to go straight to the next lesson that would be the Road to Ammaeus.