VERSES: Acts 27:1-44; 45:1
MEMORY VERSE: Acts 27:24 "...Fear not, Paul, thou must be brought before Caesar..."
BOOK TO REMEMBER: Jude. Write "Jude" on small slips of paper and hand out to the students at the end of class.
PRAYER: Thank God for his protection and his providence.
SPECIAL SONG: The Wise Man Built His House On The Rock (see March 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3 on this blog. Click on orange circle to hear tune.)
VISUAL AID: Bible map; large Activity (see below), whiteboard or chalkboard. A map is drawn by the Bible teacher as the students watch and then draw on their own papers. Colored dry erase markers or chalk is helpful.
- In Caesarea, Paul and other prisoners were entrusted or delivered into the hands of a centurion named Julius. Julius was responsible in making sure that his prisoners reached Rome. Paul had appealed to Caesar and Caesar lived in Rome, Italy, a far away place from where Paul was. (Using the map as a visual aid, trace Paul's journey.) Traveling from Caesarea to Rome was quite a long journey, especially on a sailing ship. Sailing ships relied on the weather and lots of wind. When there was no wind, the ship would float along until the winds came. Sometimes the winds would not come for days. Traveling was definitely not an easy thing to do.
- Julius, the centurion, Paul, Luke, Aristarchus, possibly other friends of Paul and other prisoners sailed on a sailing ship which stopped in Sidon where Julius, the centurion, did a very nice deed for Paul. While they were in Sidon, Julius gave Paul his freedom to go to his friends and receive anything that he needed. Julius trusted that Paul would come back to the ship and Paul kept his word.
- After they left Sidon, they were beginning to have trouble with the weather. They had to go another way around the island of Cyprus that was sheltered because the winds were not cooperating. They sailed over the sea of Cilicia and docked in Myra, a city in Lycia. In Myra, the centurion found a ship that was going to Italy and he commanded all those under his control to board that ship to Rome.
- After they had sailed slowly for many days, they sailed to Cniidus, under the island of Crete, around Salmone, and then on to a place called The Fair Havens which was on the island of Crete. After many days and when the sailing was dangerous, Paul scolded the captain of the ship and the centurion, saying the journey was not going to be an easy trip. There would be danger and much damage, not only to the ship and the cargo, but to the lives on the ship. But the centurion listened to the captain and owner of the ship instead of Paul. Thinking that they might be safer sailing on to Phenice which was on the other side of Crete, they sailed on. The south wind blew softly, so they sailed close to Crete, but before they could get to Phenice, a mighty, violent wind took hold of their ship and they were swept along by the wind out in the sea.
- As they made their way across the huge sea, they sailed on the sheltered side of a small island called Clauda where they did their best to fix some things that had happened to the ship. Becoming a huge storm, the ship was tossed here and there in the sea, so much so, that the men lightened the ship by throwing unnecessary items overboard into the sea. It did not do much good, so the next day, they threw some of the things that were more important, even things that they needed, overboard..
- After many days of not seeing the sun nor stars, the men were giving up hope. But after a long while without any food, Paul stood up in the middle of the men and said, "Sirs, you should have listened to me and not sailed from Crete. But now, I encourage you to be happy because no one's life will be taken, but only the ship will be lost. An angel of God told me not to be afraid because I must be brought before Caesar in Rome and God will save all those that travel with me. So, be happy because I believe God and everything that the angel said. However, the bad news is that we will be thrown out on to an island."
- On the fourteenth night about midnight, the men thought that they were close to land, so they took soundings which was the way they could measure the depth of the water. They were afraid that the ship would run into the rocks, so they let down four anchors which they thought would hold the ship and then they wished for the morning to come. Some of the men had let down the life boat and were about to sail away in the small boat, when Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, "Unless all the men stay on the ship, they cannot be saved." This time the centurion listened to Paul and cut the ropes that were tying the small boat to the ship and let it fall into the sea.
- When it was almost daylight, Paul encouraged the men to eat some meat because it had been fourteen days that they eaten nothing. Paul said that no harm would come to them if they ate something for their health. After he had finished speaking, he took some of the bread, and while they were all standing there, gave thanks to God and ate it. The rest of the men began to be more cheerful and they ate, too. In the whole ship, Luke writes that there were 276 people.After they had eaten, they threw more things over into the sea, throwing even the wheat into the water.
- In the morning, they had no idea where they were, but they discovered a small creek with a shoreline which they intended to turn the ship into, if it was possible. They took up the anchors and headed for the shore, but they were actually in a place where two seas met and they ran the ship into a sandbar where they were stuck. The front of the ship could not be moved, but the back of the ship was broken up by the waves. They were shipwrecked!
- It was a dangerous time to be a prisoner! The soldiers wanted to kill all the prisoners because they thought they might swim out to sea and escape, but the centurion wanted to save Paul, so he stopped the soldiers from killing anyone and told everyone to jump off the ship and swim to shore! So, everyone jumped off the ship. Some used boards to make it to the island of Melita, and some hung on to broken pieces of the ship. All 276 people made it to land safely just like the angel of God had told Paul. God knows the future and is always in control! We will talk more about what happened on the island of Melita and what God has in store for Paul next time.
- We notice that Luke is with Paul, traveling with him to Rome. Read Acts 27:1. Luke is telling this journey in detail because he is there (Notice the pronoun "we.") Aristarchus was also with Paul and Luke. Aristarchus was one of Paul's traveling companions when he was in Ephesus and Demetrius stirred up the silversmiths, causing much confusion in the city. Aristarchus was one of the men who the Ephesians caught in the theater. (See Lesson - Demetrius And The Sin Of Idolatry - July 2015 on this blog.) We need to remember that these friends of Paul were also suffering right along side of Paul without food and a fear of the storm.
- Fourteen nights in a violent storm and all 276 people were saved. Not one was lost! God was in control all the time! We need to remember that when times are hard for us that, if we are obedient to God and doing His Will, He will always take care of us. Read 1 Peter 5:7..We should pray to God and He will take care of us.
- The captain, the centurion, and everyone on the ship could have saved themselves much trouble and could have saved the ship if they had listened to Paul in the beginning. The same thing applies to us today if we would listen to God.
- During hard times--times that come to all people, we all "wish for the morning to come" (Acts 27:29). We should never give up hope, but pray to God and He will listen. We only need to ride through the night when things look dark and bleak. The morning always come and things always look better and brighter. When we are doing right and trusting God, He will take care of us.
Materials needed: White bond paper, 2" x 4" rectangle of scrap paper, scraps of brown and tan construction paper, a plastic straw, pencil, eraser, markers, crayons, scissors, glue, tape.
- Move Bible map of Paul's fourth missionary journey, showing entire Mediterranean Sea area close to the students, so all can see.
- Hand out white paper.
- Using a pencil, each student looks at the map on display, and as the Bible teacher attempts to draw the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea on the board, they gently draw the general area on their white paper. No professional artists needed. An illusion of the area is fine. (You can do this! It does not need to be perfect! Try this yourself a day or two before class begins. It is easier than it looks!)
- Make sure that the islands of Cyprus, Crete Sicily, and Melita are drawn on the paper.
- Trace pencil lines with black marker.
- Label Caesarea, Sidon, Cyprus, Myra, Cnidus, Crete, Fair Havens, Phenice, Clauda, Melita, and Rome on the map.
- Draw a line connecting Caesarea, Sidon, the back side of Cyprus (closest to land), Myra, Cnidus, around to Fair Havens, around Caluda, and ending in Melita.
- At the top of the paper, write, "PAUL SAILS TO ROME" and "Acts 27, 28:1."
- Trace "journey line" in red crayon.
- Carefully using scissors, cut on the red line that connects the cities and islands, going around the names that the student has written on the map. (Bible teacher may need to help a little with this step.)
- Set map aside.
- Ship: Using scrap paper, cut a small one-inch semi-circle out of brown paper (this is the ship), a skinny brown pole (glued to the middle of the ship), and tan triangles (glued to the pole for masts).
- Tape ship to straw.
- Carefully, insert ship into the line that has been cut through the Mediterranean Sea, showing the path from Caesarea to Melita. CAUTION: If not careful, the paper will tear.
- Turn white paper over to the back side.
- Tape two long edge and one short edge of 2" x 4" paper to the back side of the white paper to form a pocket for the ship and the straw when it is not in use.
- As a class, carefully and gently move the ship along the journey that Paul sailed, trying to get to Rome.
- Everyone places their ships in their pockets before leaving class.