VERSES: Acts 28:1-11
MEMORY VERSE: Acts 28:4 "...there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand."
BOOK TO REMEMBER: Review all New Testament books from Matthew through Jude.
PRAYER: Pray for others who are sick that they may get well.
SPECIAL SONG: The Books Of The Old Testament and The Books Of The New Testament (see March 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3 on this blog. Click on orange circle to hear tunes.)
VISUAL AID: Bible map; large Activity (see below)
- We remember that Paul had appealed his case to Caesar in Rome, Italy and had been on a sailing ship as a prisoner. Luke and other friends traveled with him, along with other prisoners. Their ship was shipwrecked on a small island called Melita, and all 276 people who were on the ship were stranded, but alive. Their journey to Rome was filled with hardships.
- Sometimes islands in the oceans and seas do not have any people living on them, but this was not the case with the island of Melita. Although the people were described as "barbarians," this only meant that they were of a different culture and language than the group on the ship. The people on the island were kind and showed compassion to the shipwrecked passengers. Because it was raining and cold, the people of Melita built a fire for them.
- While they were collecting wood for the fire, Paul gathered a bundle of sticks when a snake came out of the fire and bit him on the hand! When the people of the island saw the snake hanging on Paul's hand, they talked among themselves. They said, "Certainly this man is a murderer and, although he has escaped the sea, he will not live." Then they stood by and watched Paul. Paul shook off the snake into the fire and felt no harm at all! The people continued to watch Paul to see how he would react to the snakebite, but nothing happened to him. His hand was not swollen and he did not suddenly fall down dead. The people could see that the snake bite had not harmed Paul. Then they changed their minds from thinking he was a murderer and said that he was a god! They did not know that the God of Heaven was watching over Paul.
- The most important man on the island was an official named Publius. He had a place where he stored his possessions and let some of the passengers on the ship stay there. Publius was extremely kind to the men, politely letting them stay there for three days. However, Publius' father had a fever and was very sick. When Paul heard about the official's father, he went into the room where he was laying, prayed, and laid his hands on him. and the father was healed! When everyone on the island heard what Paul had done for Publius' father, the ones who had diseases came and Paul healed them, too. The people were so thankful and grateful that they honored Paul and Luke and all that were with them. When they left the island three months later, the people of Melita gladly gave the men all the things they needed to make the trip to Rome.
- The island that Paul was shipwrecked on was called Melita, which today is called Malta.
- Read Mark 16:17, 18. Jesus told his disciples that signs would be accompanying them, proving to all who saw them taking up snakes such as Paul did in this case and other unnatural situations that they were truly from God. These signs were their credentials, showing that they were God sent. The people of Melita believed that the men were from God when they saw that Paul did not die or even get sick from a deadly snakebite and then witnessing many people whom they knew to have diseases be healed.
- The whole purpose of the snake incident was to show the people on this island that Paul was a man of God and that his message would be a message from God.
Materials needed: 9" x 12" brown construction paper, 4 1/2" x 9" green construction paper, scrap of red construction paper, scrap of aluminum foil, glue, scissors, pencil, crayons, markers.
- Hand out brown paper.
- Lay the student's hand and arm down on the paper.
- Trace with pencil.
- Trace pencil line with black crayon.
- Cut out hand and arm.
- Set aside.
- Hand out green paper.
- Draw a snake.
- Cut out snake.
- Set aside.
- Cut two small 1/4" red circles. (These are the bite marks on Paul's hand.)
- Glue red circles close together on hand.
- Cut two small triangles out of foil. (These are the snake's fangs.)
- Glue fangs on snake's head.
- Write, "Deadly snake" on snake.
- Color snake.
- Write, "Paul's hand" on edge of arm.
- Write, "...there came a snake out of the heat and fastened on to his hand." and "Acts 28:3" on the palm of the hand.
- Glue snake's fangs to red circles.
- Carefully, carry project home.