Sunday Morning 8/1: Unit 35, Session 1: Paul Before Rulers

Paul was in custody in Caesarea, the capital of the Roman province of Judea. The Jewish leaders had brought serious charges against him, so Paul now stood before Felix, the governor. Felix listened to Paul’s defense but delayed a ruling. He met with Paul off and on for two years. When his time as governor ended, Felix left Paul in prison because he did not want to upset the Jews.

Festus succeeded Felix as governor. The Jews presented their accusations against Paul and asked Festus to bring him to Jerusalem. They hoped to ambush Paul as he traveled and kill him. But Festus invited Paul’s accusers to make their case in Caesarea. When Festus heard Paul’s case, he asked if Paul wanted to be tried in Jerusalem. Paul, knowing his rights as a Roman citizen, appealed to be heard by Caesar.

Several days later, King Agrippa visited Festus and heard about Paul. He asked to listen to Paul’s defense himself. Festus wasn’t sure how he would justify his sending Paul to Caesar without substantiated charges, and he hoped this hearing would provide stronger evidence against Paul. Festus told Paul he was out of his mind, but they determined Paul could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.

With these events, Paul was positioned to go to Rome, just as God had said he would. (See Acts 19:21; 23:11.) God had chosen Paul to take the gospel to Gentiles, kings, and the Israelites. (Acts 9:15-16) Paul met with people again and again to tell the good news about Jesus. He wanted everyone to believe that Jesus is Lord. Because Jesus has the power to save people from sin, Paul was willing to do whatever it took to share the gospel.

As you share with your kids, prompt them to consider how Paul might have felt as he spoke before rulers and remained in custody for two years. Lead them to consider how God was at work to keep His promises.

FAMILY STARTING POINTS 

  • Babies and Toddlers
    • God wants all people to hear the truth about Jesus.
    • People put Paul in prison.
    • Governors asked Paul questions about Jesus.
    • Paul taught about Jesus no matter what.
    • One day all Christians will see Jesus.
  • Preschool
    • Paul told rulers about Jesus.
    • What will happen for all Christians in the future? One day all Christians will see Jesus in His glory and live with Him forever.
  • Kids
    • Paul was willing to do hard things to share the gospel. 
    • What will happen for all Christians in the future? One day all Christians will see Jesus in His glory and live with Him forever.

UNIT KEY PASSAGE

  • Philippians 1:6

NEXT WEEK 

  • “Paul’s Shipwreck” (Acts 27–28)
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