MEMORY VERSE: Acts 7:58 "...and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet whose name was Saul."
BOOK TO REMEMBER: Mark. Write "Mark" on small slips of paper and pass out to students at the end of class to take home and memorize.
PRAYER: Pray that we will always stand up for God, be strong and knowledgeable followers of Christ, and always defend Truth.
SPECIAL SONG: How Do Christians Worship God? (see May 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #5 on this blog. Click on orange circle for tune.)
VISUAL AID: Large Activity (either draw on whiteboard or chalkboard, or make a large copy of the Activity on paper.)
- We read about Stephen being one of the men who helped divide food among the people in the early days of the church. Stephen was a good man who was filled with the Holy Spirit and was very wise and honest. After the apostles had laid their hands on him, Stephen was full of faith and power and did many great signs and miracles in front the people.
- In the synagogue where the Jews worshiped God and also were taught the law, there were certain important Jews who argued with Stephen. Stephen was filled with the Holy Spirit which was from God. The Jews should have respected Stephen and listened to him, but they did not. Instead, they stirred up the people. The elders and scribes caught Stephen and took him to the Jewish council where the high priest was present. The Jews arranged for false witnesses to come before the council and tell lies about Stephen.
- All who were in the council looked intently at Stephen and saw his face look like the face of an angel. The high priest asked Stephen if what he had heard was true. Then Stephen began to tell the high priest and all of the other Jews who were in the room about the history of the Jews in just a few words. He told them about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He talked about the twelve sons of Jacob and how Joseph saved all of their lives. Stephen then told everyone about Moses and how he had led them out of slavery and into the Promised Land. He spoke of King David and Solomon. All of the words that Stephen spoke were from God. Stephen finally called the ones who were listening stubborn just like their fathers had been. He said that they were the ones who had killed Jesus.
- The Jews did not like what Stephen said at all! Yet, they were convicted in their hearts because they knew that everything Stephen said was true. They were so angry that they hurt Stephen, but Stephen looked up intently into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing on the right side of God. When Stephen told the angry Jews what he was seeing, they could not take it anymore! The Jews cried out with a very loud voice, put their hands up to their ears, and ran with uncontrolled rage at Stephen. They picked up stones and began throwing the stones at Stephen. They all laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. Stephen called out and said, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." He then knelt down and cried out, "Lord, do not blame them for this." Then Stephen died.
- Had Stephen done anything wrong? No! He died at the hands of men who should have known that he was a good and honest man, and was obedient to God, but they killed him instead.
- Stephen was the first Christian martyr. A martyr is someone who dies for their religious beliefs.
- We want to notice where the Jews laid their coats at the stoning of Stephen--at the feet of a young man named Saul. Saul becomes an important person as we study the book of Acts as we will find out next time.
- Acts 7 is a great chapter that tells the history of the Jews in a few words.
- At different times in the New Testament, it will mention that Jesus is sitting on the right hand of God, but we notice at the stoning of Stephen, He was standing.
Materials needed: 9" x 12" yellow construction paper, 4" x 7" tan construction paper, 4" x 12" brown construction paper, scraps of dark brown or gray, tan, white, and various bright colors of paper, two cotton balls, marker, crayons, scissors, glue.
- Hand out yellow paper.
- Hand out brown paper,
- Glue brown paper to the bottom of the yellow paper. This is the road outside the city.
- Either copy off the blackline of Stephen or have the students draw Stephen to fit in the bottom left corner of the yellow paper. (If you choose to copy the paper below on paper, it may be helpful to also write and copy the words in Steps 21-23 below.)
- Cut small triangles out of colored paper and two smaller long rectangles. These are the robes and arms of the Jews.
- Cut small brown or gray circles for the stones.
- Cut a few larger stones.
- Cut tiny tan circles for the Jewish faces.
- Color Stephen and glue him on top of the road and yellow paper, in a corner. Make sure Stephen is not looking at the Jews, but up in the clouds.
- Glue arms on all robes. It is nice if the arms are glued in an upward position, showing the Jews' anger.
- Glue small tan circles on the robes. These are the Jew's faces.
- Draw angry faces on the Jews.
- Glue Jews on brown paper.
- Glue a stone in each of the Jews' hands.
- Glue larger stones closer to Stephen than the Jews.
- Fold up one arm of the people to their ears to resemble the Jews stopping up their ears.
- Hand out cotton balls. These are the clouds.
- "Thin" out cotton balls by spreading the cotton with the students' fingers.
- Glue cotton a little lower than the corner of the yellow paper opposite of Stephen. Make sure there is room for Jews and God above the clouds.
- Draw "the glory of God" and Jesus standing on the right side of God above the clouds. Label is necessary or desired.
- On white scrap paper, write "I see the heavens opened and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God." Cut into a speech bubble, pointing to Stephen's mouth.
- On white scrap paper, write "They cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him..." Cut out and glue close to the angry Jews.
- On white scrap paper, write, "...and they stoned Stephen..." Cut out and glue to the bottom of the brown paper.
- Write "The Stoning of Stephen" and "Acts 7" on the top of the yellow paper.