Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Lesson - Paul's Nephew Saves Paul's Life

VERSES:  Acts 23:12-35

MEMORY VERSE:  Acts 23:16  "And when Paul's sister's son heard of their lying in wait, he went and entered into the castle, and told Paul."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:  2 John.  Write "2 John" on small slips of paper, so the students may take them home to memorize another book.

PRAYER:  Pray for courage that we may be able to help others in any way we can.

SPECIAL SONG:   Be Patient And Kind (see April 2014 - Lesson - Joseph Meets His Brothers Who Hated Him on this blog. Click on orange circle to hear tune.)

VISUAL AID:   Bible map showing Caesarea, Antipatris, Jerusalem, and Rome; large Activity (see below) or whiteboard or chalkboard drawing.

  • Paul had nearly been torn apart by the angry mob of Jews, but the chief captain of the soldiers saved him by taking him to the castle where the soldiers were staying. Paul must have been very discouraged, but then, he heard someone who encouraged him and comforted him. It was the Lord who stood by him and said to him, "Paul, be happy! Just like you preached and testified of me in Jerusalem, you will also do in Rome." Just those few words must have given Paul hope, knowing that somehow he would get out of the trouble he was in and, at least, live a few more days!
  • Meanwhile, there were forty Jewish men who had made an agreement between themselves. They promised that they would not eat anything or drink anything until they had killed Paul. What a terrible thing to promise! The men must have been very angry with Paul! The forty men went to the chief priests and elders who were important leaders of the Jews and told them what they had promised. Then they conspired or made secret plans with the important Jews to call the chief captain to have Paul brought down the next day and pretend that they were going to ask Paul a question, then, when Paul got close to the forty men, they would kill him!
  • Their plan might have worked, but someone was listening! Paul's sister had a son and he heard all about the plan and went to the castle to tell Paul. When Paul heard the plot, he told the centurion to take his nephew to the chief captain because he had something to tell him.The centurion did as Paul asked and when the chief captain saw the young boy, he showed kindness to him. He took him by the hand and asked him, "What did you want to tell me?" So the young boy told the chief captain of the forty men's plan to kill Paul the next day. The chief captain let the young boy leave, but he told him not to tell anyone what he had told him.
  • Then the chief captain instructed two centurions to get 200 soldiers, 70 horsemen, and 200 spearmen ready to go to Caesarea at night. They got a horse ready for Paul and they headed out to Caesarea to take him to the governor named Felix where he would be safe. The chief captain even wrote a letter for Paul stating all that had happened, how he could not find any fault with Paul, yet, since Paul was a Roman citizen, he was trying to keep him safe by sending him to the governor. The soldiers went as far as to the city of Antipatris, then they left Paul with the 70 horsemen while they returned to the castle. When they arrived in Caesarea, the horsemen gave the letter and Paul to the governor. 
  • The governor asked Paul what province or area he was from. Paul answered, "Cilicia."  Governor Felix said that he would hear what Paul had to say when his accusers or the ones who were going to kill Paul arrived in Caesarea. Paul was taken to Herod's judgment hall until the men came to the city.
"Older Student" Tips:
  • We remember that a centurion was in charge of 100 soldiers while a chief captain was in charge of 1,000 soldiers.
  • From this story, we learn that, not only did Paul have a sister, but he had a nephew as well.
  • 200 soldiers, 70 horsemen, and 200 spearmen was a huge amount of protection for Paul. Yet, Paul had all the protection he needed because God was with him.
  • Antipatris is about halfway between Jerusalem and Caesarea.
  • Even though Paul's nephew was young, he did the right thing. He was not afraid to tell Paul of the Jew's terrible plan and, by telling, God used him to save Paul's life. 
ACTIVITY:   Paul Is Protected On The Way To See Governor Felix
Materials needed:  12" x 18" light blue construction paper, crayons, markers.

  1. Hand out blue paper. (I chose to use the extra-large paper because students need a lot of room to draw horses!)
  2. Holding paper length-wise, fold top two corners to the middle of the paper. (See top picture.)
  3. Crease folds.
  4. Draw a line just under the folds all across the paper.
  5. Under the line, write "PAUL Is Protected On The Way To See Governor Felix" and "Acts 23:12-35."
  6. On the top triangles, write "200 Soldiers," "70 horsemen," "200 Spearmen," "and God."
  7. Open up paper.
  8. Draw a scene with Paul and the soldiers riding to Caesarea. (see picture for example). Make sure there is a sign that says "Caesarea."