VERSES: Acts 9:1-22
MEMORY VERSE: Acts 9:15 "...for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings, and the children of Israel."
BOOK TO REMEMBER: Romans. Write "Romans" on small slips of paper and hand out at the end of class to memorize at home. The purpose of learning one additional book is to learn all 39 books of the New Testament.
PRAYER: Thank God the spiritual and physical blessings He gives His children.
SPECIAL SONGS: Read, Read Every Day (see February 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #1 on this blog) and The Books Of The New Testament (see March 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3 on this blog. Click on orange circles to hear tunes.)
VISUAL AID: Bible Map of Jerusalem and Damascus, Large Activity (see below)
- We have studied about Saul before this lesson (review May 2015 - Lesson - An Introduction To Saul on this blog). We know that Saul was very enthusiastic in persecuting Christians. He was a young man when the Jews were stoning Stephen and they laid their coats at his feet. Saul agreed with the Jews that Stephen should have been stoned. All the things Saul did, he always did with a clear conscience (Acts 23:1).
- As the church was growing and the persecutions of Christians were continuing, Saul was in the middle of everything. He continued to search out Christians and, when he found them, he not only threatened the followers of Christ, he sometimes killed them. But, in all that Saul did, he did with a pure heart, believing that he was doing the right thing. He did not know he was doing the wrong thing.
- One day, Saul went to the high priest and requested letters from him. The letters were addressed to the synagogues in Damascus and gave Saul permission to arrest any Christians that he found and he could take them back to Jerusalem with him. It did not matter if the Christians were men or women. He could arrest them and put them in prison in Jerusalem.
- But, that was not what the Lord wanted. As Saul traveled close to Damascus with the letters from the high priest, suddenly a light from heaven shone all around him! Saul fell to the ground and heard a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" Saul knew it was the Lord's voice because he asked, "Who are you, Lord?" The Lord said, "I am Jesus whom you persecute." Saul was amazed and trembled. He said, "Lord, what do you want me to do?" The Lord said to him, "Get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do."
- The men who were traveling with Saul stood by without saying a word. They could hear the voice, but could not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground and opened his eyes. He could see nothing! He was blind! The glory of the light had blinded him (Acts 23:11). The men who were with him had to take Saul by the hand and lead him into Damascus because he could not see. In fact, Saul could not see for three days and nights. He did not drink anything or eat anything.
- There was a man in Damascus named Ananias. He was a devout man and had a good reputation among the Jews in Damascus (Acts 23:12). The Lord spoke to Ananias in a vision. He said, "Ananias." Ananias said, "Here I am, Lord." Then the Lord went on to tell Ananias to go to the street called Straight and go to the house of Judas and ask for Saul of Tarsus. He was praying there in the house and had seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming into the house, putting his hands on him that he might regain his sight. Ananias was a little concerned about this man named Saul of Tarsus. Ananias asked the Lord, "Lord, I have heard from many people about all the evil he has done to your disciples in Jerusalem. In Damascus, he has the authority from the chief priests to arrest everyone who believes in You." Ananias was nervous, but the Lord said to him, "Go on your way. He is a chosen vessel to me. He will be the one who will tell the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel about Me. I will show him the great things he must suffer for My sake."
- So, Ananias went to the house of Judas, put his hands on Saul, and said, "Brother Saul, this same Jesus who has appeared to you on the road to Damascus has sent me that you might receive your sight and that you might be filled with the Holy Spirit. Why are you hesitating? Get up and be baptized and wash away your sins." (Acts 23:16). Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes and he could see again! The first thing Saul did was to get up and be baptized just as Ananias had said. Then, he ate some food and was strong again. Saul went immediately and preached that Jesus is the Son of God in the synagogues.
- Everyone who heard Saul preaching about Jesus--doing the same thing that he had been arresting Christians for doing--was amazed! But, Saul got stronger and stronger and surprised and confused the Jews who lived in Damascus with his preaching about Christ.
- Great things were expected from Saul and he immediately began preaching about Jesus.
- How about us? Could we be doing the wrong things and think that they are the right things to do? How do we know what is right and what is wrong? Today, the Lord does not speak to us as He spoke to Ananias and to Saul because we have something that they did not have. We have the Bible that tells us everything that the Lord wants us to know (2 Timothy 3:16, 17).
- Judas and Ananias were common names. We should not confuse these names with Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus or Ananias who lied to the Holy Spirit. Both of those men had already died.
ACTIVITY: Saul on the Road to Damascus
Materials needed: 5" x 7" piece of manila file folder or heavy paper, 1" x 6" dark brown strip of construction paper or cardboard, two 1" x 2" rectangles of leftover file folder or heavy paper, 6" x 12" yellow construction paper, 2" x 6" strip of leftover manila file folder, tape, crayons, marker, scissors.
- Hand out 5" x 7" folder. This is the road.
- Color road brown.
- In one corner, write "Acts 9."
- At the bottom of folder, write "Saul On The Road To Damascus"
- Hand out brown strip. This is the sign post.
- Fold brown strip up 1".
- Hand out two 1" x 2" rectangles of folder.
- Cut one edge into a point. Write "Jerusalem." Tape to brown sign post.
- Cut the the other rectangle into a point and write "Damascus." Tape to brown sign post.
- Tape brown strip to another corner of folder. Crease fold with pressure so it will stand up.
- Hand out 2" x 6" strip of folder. This is Saul.
- Shape one end of strip into the shoulders and head of Saul. Write "Saul" on strip.
- Fold Saul twice, up 2" and then again another 2". Saul should look like he is on his knees.
- Color both sides of Saul.
- Tape Saul's robe to the middle of the road.
- Fold Saul down again.
- Hand out yellow paper.
- About 3" from bottom of yellow paper, make a small mark. Do this on both sides.
- With pencil, lightly draw a curve from mark to mark.
- Cut on pencil line.
- Roll into a cone shape, leaving a hole in top. This is the light that shone around Saul.
- Tape twice on edge to secure.
- Place cone on top of Saul. Looking down into small hole in the top of the cone, student may see Saul on the ground.