Paul and Barnabas (Children’s Sunday School Lesson)

Free Sunday School LessonsThis lesson is a continuation of Paul and Barnabas’ first missionary journey.  In this lesson they experience rejection to the message of the Gospel and also see many respond with faith as they hear the message.  The lesson can be used in Children’s church and also simplified for younger students.

Be creative and adapt this lesson to fit your own Sunday School class and teaching style.

Bible Story: Paul and Barnabas share the Good News in Pisidian Antioch
Scripture: Acts 13:13-52
Target Age Group: Age 9 – 11 (U.S. 3rd – 5th Grade)
Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: 60 minutes
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Supply List: Bibles, Bible map, paper, pens, and index cards with different responses to the Gospel, construction paper if making wordless books.

Learning Goal: Students will learn that believers who share the Good News will face obstacles and sometimes rejection.

Learning Indicator: Students will experience possible reactions to how others respond to the message of the Gospel. This will prepare them and enable them to be obedient to share no matter what response they receive.  Students will be able to verbalize their testimony to enable them to have confidence to share with others that they encounter outside of Sunday school.  Students will demonstrate their understanding of the Bible Lesson by answering review questions.

Learning Activity #1: Students will role play sharing the Gospel.  Choose a volunteer who will be the one sharing the Gospel.  Have other volunteers choose a card with how they will respond to the message.  (Uninterested, distracted, mocks, listens but isn’t ready to be saved, wants to be saved)  Students can switch roles and act out the different responses.  The teacher guides the students by encouraging the student sharing the Gospel with possible suggestions.  (Using a tract, wordless book, sharing his/her testimony etc)

Learning Activity #2: A writing activity for this lesson is for students to write out their testimony.  Teachers can help the students by guiding the students to the key points of how and when they put their faith in Jesus.  As they write out these facts about themselves they can share their testimonies with others in the class.

Learning Activity #3: Students can create their own wordless book (use yellow, black, red, white and green construction paper and staple like a book).  Students can practice sharing the Good News with their wordless books.

Test: Review Questions

Memory Verse: Ephesians 6:19 “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel”

This morning as you arrived we have been working on different activities to help us to share the Good News with people God puts in our path.  Our memory verse is a good prayer for each of us to pray so that we can boldly share the Good News.  Let’s use hand motions to help us memorize this verse.

Bible Lesson:  Paul and Barnabas share the Good News in Pisidian Antioch

This is only a guide to teach the passage.  An effort was made to cover all the verses.  As you teach this lesson you may be led to leave some aspects out or even expound on parts that focus on your aim for teaching your students.

(Give Bibles to students who do not have one.)

Ask the students to name someone (besides God or Jesus) who is living or has passed away that they look up to and see as a hero.  What did that person do that makes you look up to him/her?  (Answers will vary.  If the group is quiet share a person that made a positive impact in your life that makes them like a hero to you.)

The Bible is filled with people who have lived before us.  Many of these people are people we can look up to and try to follow their example.

As we have studied the Book of Acts we have witnessed many examples of how to live a life that pleases God.  (Allow students to share some ways believers filled with the Holy Spirit set an example for believers today to follow.)

Using a map have a student locate the island of Cyprus and point to Paphos.  Last week we learned about how Paul and Barnabas shared the Good News with Sergius Paulus and how Elymas tried to keep him from believing.  Whenever the Good News is being shared Satan tries hard to keep people from believing in Jesus.  Even though Satan tried to distract Sergius by using Elymas he did not succeed.  Sergius heard the Good News and believed in Jesus.

For believers who share the Good News Sergius’ response is the one we all would like to have each time.  Unfortunately when we share the Good News some will believe and some will not.  Believers are not responsible for others’ responses to the message of salvation but we are supposed to be obedient to continue to share the Good News.

Let’s turn in our Bibles to Acts 13:13. Today we are going to continue the adventure with Paul and Barnabas as they obey Jesus’ command to “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”  (Mark 16:15)  Locate Perga on the map.

Choose a volunteer to read the verse.  Who remembers who John is?  John is also known as John Mark and he is Barnabas’ cousin.  John Mark left Antioch with Paul and Barnabas and travelled with them as their helper.  Acts 13:5

Where did John go?  No one knows exactly why John Mark went home.  What are some possible reasons that you think he may have went home?  (Allow responses)  Some have said he may have been homesick. It is possible he got physically ill.  Others have thought that maybe he was fearful of the difficulties and dangers of traveling to different places.

As we continue to study Acts we will learn later that Paul was very disappointed that John Mark left.  He was disappointed that he deserted them and did not continue with them in the work.  Acts 15:37-38

Sometimes as believers we are like John Mark.  We want to be obedient to do what God tells us to do.  For whatever reason we don’t do what we said we would do.  An example might be that a new family moves into your neighborhood.  You see that there is a child your age in this family.  The child doesn’t look like the friends that you normally play with.  As you have been faithfully coming to Sunday school each week and have learned how God shows no favoritism but wants all people to be saved, God keeps putting on your heart that you need to go over to the neighbor’s house and introduce yourself to the child your age.  Every time you have your quiet time God brings this neighbor to mind.  You go to your mom/dad and tell them what you think God is telling you to do.  Your parents have met the parents of this child and have given you permission to go to their house to introduce yourself.  There is no doubt in your heart that God has made it clear what you need to do.  You pray for strength and the right words to speak to this neighbor.  You start walking down the street and one of your friends sees you heading to the new family’s house and asks you what you are doing.  When you tell him he makes fun of you and says that the family is weird.  As you get closer to the house a huge dog that this new family owns comes to the fence and growls and barks loudly at you.  You are so overwhelmed with fear that you go back home and put off meeting this new neighbor.

In many ways that may be what happened with John Mark.  He committed to traveling with Paul and Barnabas and when things looked scary he didn’t follow through with what he set out to do.

If you have ever experienced this type of failure as a believer you can be encouraged that God still can use you.  Later in our study of Acts we will see how God used John Mark for His kingdom.  We need to remember to learn from our mistakes and keep walking with Jesus and do what He asks us to do.

Paul and Barnabas continued to travel without John Mark.  The next destination they planned to share the Gospel was Pisidian Antioch.  (Show on the map)  This is not the same Antioch where Paul and Barnabas were called to be missionaries.  (Point out the other Antioch.) The distance from Perga to Pisidian Antioch was about 100 miles.  To understand what the journey would be like imagine going on a hike up a rocky mountain. Paul and Barnabas traveled through an area that was filled with robbers and yet they didn’t let fear keep them from getting to the place where they would share the Good News.

When Paul and Barnabas arrive in Pisidian Antioch they go to the synagogue (the place where the Jewish people worship) on the Sabbath (day of rest for the Jews-Saturday).

After Scriptures from the Old Testament were read, Paul was invited to share a message of encouragement.

As believers we always need to be ready to share our faith in Jesus.  1 Peter 3:15-16: But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

Paul stood up and began to teach.  In the synagogue that day there were Jews and Gentiles who worshiped God.  Paul’s message to his audience that day teaches us how we can share the Good News with people that God puts in our path.

Paul begins at the place of his audiences’ understanding. Paul knows that the goal of his teaching was to help those listening to hear the Good News about Jesus.  Since he was speaking to Jews who knew God’s promises and the history of Israel, he begins by talking about the things they would be familiar with. (Acts 13:16-22)

The Jews knew God promised to send a Messiah yet they didn’t understand that God kept His promise by sending Jesus.  Let’s read Acts 13:26-29.  (Choose a student for each verse)

Paul comes to the most important part of the message.  He shares the Good News! The Jewish people didn’t understand that God spoke through His prophets and said that the Messiah would suffer.  When the Jewish people crucified their very own Messiah they fulfilled God’s prophecy that Jesus would suffer and die.  When Jesus was put to death the Jewish people thought that was the end of Him.  But….let’s read Acts 13:30.

Paul tells his audience that what God has promised has been fulfilled.  God promised that the Messiah would rise from the dead.  Paul shares the passages of the Old Testament that his audience would be familiar with to prove God did keep His promises.

The final thing Paul does that is important for everyone who shares the Good News is to share how they can have their sins forgiven.  Acts 13:38-39

The Holy Spirit enabled Paul to preach to this audience.  Many in the audience that day were so captivated by the message that as Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue people invited them to come back next week to teach.

God’s message that Paul shared made a huge impact in the lives of many in the synagogue.  What would make me say that?  Let’s read Acts 13:44.  How can we explain having  almost the whole city show up at the synagogue the next time Paul would be preaching?  (Allow responses) When people hear the message of the Good News and believe they will want to share the Good News with others.

Paul and Barnabas were being obedient to share the Good News and many people responded very positively by believing in Jesus.  Unfortunately there will be times when people won’t believe.

Paul and Barnabas experienced a negative response to the message of the Good News.  Let’s read about it in Acts 13:45.

Paul and Barnabas responded with gentleness and respect to these Jews who were speaking unkindly to them.  They explained that they shared the message of the Good News with them first but since they rejected the message they were going to obey God’s command to share the Good News with the Gentiles so all people can hear and be saved if they believe.  (Acts 13:46-47)

The message that angered the unbelieving Jews caused a completely different reaction in the Gentiles.  Let’s read their response in Acts 13:48.

God’s Word spread throughout the area.  This caused the unbelieving Jews to stir up more trouble for Paul and Barnabas and made them leave Pisidian Antioch.

As Paul and Barnabas left they did something that Jewish people did when they had walked through an area where Gentiles lived.  When they arrived back in their land they shook off the dust to symbolize that they were cleansing themselves of being exposed to those who did not worship God.  When Paul and Barnabas did this as they left they were sending a message to the unbelieving Jews that their rejection of Jesus makes them no better than the Gentiles that worshiped other gods.

Paul and Barnabas do not let the response of the unbelieving Jews discourage them from continuing on their missionary journey.  They left Pisidian Antioch and traveled to Iconium.  As they continue on their missionary journey they are filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

Paul and Barnabas set an example for us to see that even when we are obeying God and sharing the Good News, there will be people who reject the message and may even be unkind to us.  As believers we have the Holy Spirit living in us and He will help us to continue to share with joy and boldness.

Before we pray I want to ask you a question that I don’t want you to answer out loud.  As you listened to the Bible lesson this morning what is your response to the Good News?  Are you already a believer?  If so are you sharing the Good News with others?  If you have not believed that Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection can forgive your sins, it’s not too late to believe.  Please feel free to talk to us if you have any questions and we will do our best to help you.

Close in prayer.

Review Questions:

  1. Where did John Mark go? (Home to Jerusalem)
  2. How far was the journey from Perga to Pisidian Antioch?  (About 100 miles)
  3. What made the journey difficult? (Rough terrain, robbers)
  4. Where did Paul and Barnabas go on the Sabbath?  (Synagogue)
  5. When Paul taught the people what did he start talking about first?  (What the audience would understand from the Old Testament)
  6. What was the most important part of the message Paul taught?  (The Good News that Jesus died and rose again and they could have forgiveness of sins if they believed in Him.)
  7. How many people showed up the next time Paul taught?  (Almost the whole city)
  8. How did the Jews react when they saw the crowd gathered to hear Paul?  (They were filled with jealousy and spoke abusive words to Paul and Barnabas)
  9. How did the Gentiles respond when they heard the Good News?  (They were glad and honored the Word of God)
  10. Why did Paul and Barnabas shake the dust off their feet when they left Pisidian Antioch?
  11. What can you take from Paul and Barnabas’ example and use it in your life?

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