GOD’S CARE OF PAUL

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[Acts:28:1-31].

Lesson No.: 
146
Class: 
Elementary
Memory Verse: 

“Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of” (Matthew 6:8).

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Notes: 

Kind Heathen
A long time ago when some people who lived on a little island called Melita got up early one cold, rainy morning, they perhaps made their fires and put on their coats to go out and feed and water their animals. As they opened the door and looked out over the ocean, they saw a ship that was breaking to pieces in the water. They hurried down to see what they could do. Some men wee wading up to the shore, and others were still coming in, some swimming and some holding on to boards and pieces of the ship. How glad the island people were to be able to help! They made a bonfire for the poor tired men from the wrecked ship.

We remember that our friend Paul had been on this ship. He was being taken to Rome as a prisoner to come before the great ruler, Cæsar. It was not because he had done anything bad, but because there were some wicked people who did not like to have Paul preach about Jesus.

Paul Unhurt
As some of the men were standing around in the cold with their clothes dripping wet, Paul and perhaps other were gathering sticks for the fire. When Paul put his bundle of sticks on the fire, a viper, or very poisonous snake, crawled out and stuck its fangs into Paul’s hand. Oh, now surely Paul was going to die! The island people thought he must be a very bad man who was being punished. But Paul was not afraid. Perhaps he remembered that Jesus told His disciples before He went back to Heaven that if they accidentally came upon a poisonous snake it would not hurt them, or if they made a mistake and drank something that was poison, God would not let it hurt them. Paul shook the snake off into the fire and felt no harm. When the island people saw that Paul was not even sick from the snake bite, they changed their minds and thought he was a very wonderful man.

These people were very kind to Paul and the men who were with him. They wanted to do everything they could to help them. Publius the chief man of the island, asked them to come to his place. Perhaps the servants made bread, roasted a sheep or two, cooked vegetables, and had a good hot meal for the men that day. And maybe the other people of the island brought dry clothes for them to wear.

The Sick Made Well
Paul head that Publius’ father was very sick. Perhaps he thought I would like to help these kind people. If Publius will let me pray for his father, I know God will heal him. Then the people will know that God has great power, and when I tell them that God wants them to stop bowing down to idols and doing wrong things, perhaps they will pray and be saved.

Paul did pray for the sick man, putting his hands on him, as Jesus said His people should do, and God made him well. Then other people on the island who were sick came, and they were made well too, just as Jesus heals us today when we are prayed for.

Everyone was happy. The people of Melita were happy because they could help Paul and his companions, and Paul was happy because he could help the sick people of Melita.

Sailing Again
When springtime came, Paul and the other prisoners and those who wee with them left the island of Melita in a ship that was going to Rome.

This was Paul’s first trip to Rome. It was a long way from his home and the people whom he knew and loved in Jerusalem. As we know, Paul was a prisoner, and no doubt he wondered what would happen to him when he came before the powerful Cæsar. But Jesus was with him, and God was taking care of Paul, just as He does you and me today if we love Him and serve Him.

A few days after they left Melita, they sailed past some little islands into a beautiful blue harbour. Perhaps the sun was shinning, brightening the rolling hills and mountains around the harbour. Many of the Roman people were down at the water front to welcome one of the first ships of the year bringing food from Egypt. Rome was a little way farther on, but Paul and the other prisoner would go the rest of the way by land. So here they left the ship, each one probably chained to a soldier guard.

Christian Friends
Julius, the Roman officer who had charge of the prisoners, let Paul stay here with Christian friends for a few days. Then one day they all started up the highway toward Rome. They passed rolling hills, grape vineyards, olive trees, and farm houses along the way.

The Christians at Rome heard that Paul was coming, and some of them went down the highway to meet him. Paul had written a long letter to them three years before, but they had never seen Paul. Perhaps the Christians asked Julius if they could speak to Paul, and when Paul was called, there was a happy meeting. How glad the Christians were to see him! They would go with him the rest of the way to Rome. They were not ashamed to be seen with Paul even though he was a prisoner and had to be chained to a soldier. He was their friend, and he would tell them more about Jesus and pray with them so that other people would be saved.

Paul Preaches
Can we not imagine the many prisoners, the soldiers, and others who were coming with them, walking through the streets of Rome until they came to where a great company of soldiers lived? The prisoners were to be kept here, so Julius turned them over to the captain. No doubt Paul prayed and asked God to let him tell many people in Rome about Jesus, and how they could pray and ask Jesus to forgive them for every wrong thing they ever did, and Jesus would save them and live in their heart.

No doubt Julius told the captain that Paul was a good man who was always obedient and did not cause any trouble; and since the captain liked Paul, he told him he would not have to stay in jail, but could live in his own rented house in the city. Of course, Paul was still guarded by a soldier, but people could come to see him, and Paul even had church meetings in his house. He lived there two years, and preached to many people about Jesus. Some of them did not want to love Jesus and be saved. They did not want to be sweet and humble and let Jesus show them how to live. But some did believe that Jesus is the Son of God, just as Paul said, and they stopped doing everything they knew was wrong, and asked Jesus to forgive them and save them.

We should not stop telling our friends and playmates about Jesus when some of them make fun of us, because we never know when someone will be glad to know about Jesus and will pray and be saved.

Questions: 

1. What was the name of the island where Paul and his shipwrecked companions landed? [Acts:28:1].
2. What happened when Paul put a bundle of sticks on the fire? [Acts:28:3].
3. Did God keep Paul from being sick when the snake bit him? [Acts:28:8-9].
4. What did Paul do for the sick people of the island? [Acts:28:8-9].
5. Did Paul have to stay in jail when he got to Rome? [Acts:28:16].