PAUL SUFFERS FOR CHRIST

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[Acts:21:30-40]; [Acts:22:1-30]; [Acts:23:1-35].

Lesson No.: 
136
Class: 
Elementary
Memory Verse: 

“The God of peace shall be with you”  (Philippians 4:9).

Notes: 

Returning to Jerusalem
Since his first visit to Jerusalem, Paul, the preacher, had travelled from place to place, telling the Story of Jesus. We find him, in this lesson, going once more to Jerusalem. Paul had been warned by friends along the way that he would have much trouble there, but he still wanted to go. He did not fear what wicked men might do to him, for he knew Jesus was in his heart. Paul had been mean to the Christians before he was saved, but now he loved everyone. He looked forward to worshiping with those who loved Jesus in Jerusalem.

When Paul reached Jerusalem these friends told him that there were people there who did not like him -– they did not like what he preached because they did not love Jesus, and did not want to think that Jesus was alive as Paul said He was. They did not like to have Paul tell the Gentiles, or heathen, that they could be saved, too.

Paul Is Beaten
One day some of these people who were Paul’s enemies saw him in the Temple. They grabbed him and shouted that Paul was preaching against them, and that he was not fit to be in the Temple. People all over Jerusalem were excited and came running. They pulled Paul out of the Temple and began to beat him. The chief captain and soldiers came to see what was causing all the excitement. The captain, seeing that the people were angry with Paul, thought he was a bad man, and had the soldiers bind him with two chains. Then the captain asked why they were angry with Paul. There was so much noise and shouting that the captain could not tell what the people meant. He told the soldiers to take Paul into the castle, and as they were walking up the steps Paul asked the captain if he might say something to the people.

Paul’s Defence
Can we not see Paul as he stands on the stairs with the soldiers, turning around to the noisy crowd of people and raising his hand to let them know he wanted to speak to them. They began to quiet down so they could hear what Paul was going to say. When they were all still -– maybe it was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop -– Paul started to speak to them.

He told them all about himself, so they would know he loved them and would not do them any harm. He told them he lived as they did until he saw Jesus that day on the road to Damascus. A bright heavenly light had flooded the earth around him, and Jesus had talked to him. After Paul saw Jesus and heard Him speak, he knew Jesus was alive and that He was the Son of the living God. Paul loved Him and told others about Jesus wherever he could.

The angry people still wanted to destroy Paul, but the soldiers took Paul into the castle and would not let the people hurt him. During the night Jesus came to Paul and told him not to feel bad. “Be of good cheer, Paul,” Jesus said. It is so sweet to think that no matter what happens to us, Jesus is always very near!

Shall we imagine we see a young man standing outside the castle as small groups of men are here and thee talking? It is Paul’s nephew. Suddenly he lifts his head – he hesitates a moment – then he walks up the steps into the castle. Perhaps he has overheard some of the men say they are not going to eat nor drink until they have killed Paul. He tells his uncle, Paul, what he has heard, and Paul sends him to the captain. The captain, wanting to save Paul, tells the soldiers to take Paul to another town so the people in Jerusalem cannot hurt him. That night while perhaps most of the city is very quiet, there is the stamping of horses’ feet, the hushed voices of men, and the dull sound of spears on the pavement. Two hundred soldiers, 70 horsemen, and 200 men with spears, go out through the city gate toward Cæsarea, taking Paul with them. God has again spared Paul’s life so that he may tell others in many lands about Jesus.

Preaching and Suffering
Paul had preached for a long time. He always told the people that Jesus died on the cross that they might be saved, and that He arose from the grave the third day and is now in Heaven getting mansions ready for everyone who will love Him and do what He tells them to do. But always there were people who were mean to Paul because they did not want to be good and love Jesus, and did not want Paul to preach about Him. Once Paul told of being beaten eight different times; once he was stoned; three times he was shipwrecked. He spent a day and a night in the waters of the sea; he was put in jail; he faced dangers of robbers, and other dangers in the city and in the wilderness. Once when the people waited at the city gates day and night to catch Paul, Paul’s friends helped him to escape at night by letting him down over the wall of the city in a large basket. At times he was weary; he suffered pain; he was sometimes hungry, thirsty, and cold [2 Corinthians:11:23-27]). Paul was glad to suffer for Jesus because He had died for Paul.

Perhaps not one of us has suffered even one of the things that Paul suffered for Jesus. Do we love Jesus as much as Paul loved Him? When we try to work for Jesus we may find that things are not always easy. We may invite a friend to Sunday School. Perhaps she will make an excuse like, “My mother will not get me ready in time to go.” Or she may say, “I would rather play on Sunday.” But if you let her know that it is more important to listen to God’s Word than anything else, perhaps she will come with you. Let us pray that God will make us earnest and faithful in our work for Jesus, as Paul was.

Questions: 

1. Why did some people dislike Paul? [Acts:22:19]; [Acts:23:6].
2. What happened to Paul when he was in Jerusalem at this time? [Acts:21:30-31].
3. How did Paul know Jesus was alive? [Acts:22:8].
4. Who stood by Paul and told him to be of good cheer? [Acts:23:11].
5. Who told Paul that some men were not going to eat nor drink until they had destroyed him? [Acts:23:16].