The following lesson is a drama created for students who have been studying the Book of Acts. The previous lessons have been Paul’s trial before Felix and Festus. Finally Paul appears before Agrippa before his departure for Rome. This lesson is only a guide to help you as you prepare for your students. Adapt to your individual classroom needs.
From Paul’s life, students will learn that the Holy Spirit helps believers effectively share how they became a Christian. Click here to see all the lessons in this curriculum series.
Bible Story: Paul’s defense before Agrippa
Scripture: Acts 26
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: Costumes, print outs of drama for each student to read (Highlight the speaking parts for the volunteers who will act out the character), yellow, black, red, white and green construction paper, wordless book guide for students
Learning Goal: Students will learn that the Holy Spirit helps believers effectively share how they became a Christian.
Learning Indicator: Students will demonstrate their understanding by answering review questions. They will also have an opportunity to share the Good News in a safe environment helping prepare them for daily opportunities.
Learning Activity #1: (Before class make wordless books from construction paper. Using the colors yellow, black, red, white and green cut construction paper into four squares. Staple squares in this order: Yellow, black, red, white and green. Make enough books for each student. Use this example as a guide to type up a simpler version for students to take home. This will enable them to read and practice using their wordless book with others.) As you wait for the students arrive, teach the students how to share the Wordless book. Demonstrate it a few times and then have students practice with each other.
Memory Verse: 1 Peter 3:15 “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.”
Memory verse activity: Role play what sharing the Good News looks like with gentleness and respect and how it looks sharing with an argumentative and arrogant attitude.
Bible Lesson: Paul’s defense before Agrippa
(Pray before beginning the drama)
Characters: Festus, King Agrippa, Bernice, narrator and Paul
(King Agrippa and Bernice walk in to the room with their heads held high. Everyone claps and cheers. Agrippa and his sister sit in their seats of honor.)
Narrator: While King Agrippa and his sister are seated in their seats of honor Festus stands and speaks to them.
Festus: King Agrippa and other guests, look at this man! Every Jew from Jerusalem and Caesarea has come to me, demanding for him to be put to death. I have not found him guilty of any crime deserving death. But because he has asked to be judged by the Emperor, I have decided to send him to Rome.
I need to write a letter to the Emperor explaining why I have sent Paul to him. I need to know what to write so after you hear his defense I will know what to write. It makes no sense to send a prisoner to the Emperor without stating what crime he has committed.
King Agrippa: Paul you have permission to speak and defend yourself.
Paul: King Agrippa, I am glad for this chance to defend myself before you today on all these charges my own people have brought against me.
You know a lot about our religious customs and the beliefs that divide us. So I ask you to listen patiently to me.
All the Jews have known me since I was a child. They know what kind of life I have lived in my own country and in Jerusalem. If they wanted to, they could tell you I was a Pharisee, a member of a group that is stricter than any other.
Now I am on trial because I believe the promise God made to our people long ago. Day and night our twelve tribes have earnestly served God, waiting for His promised blessings. King Agrippa, because of this hope, some of our leaders have accused me of committing a crime. Why should any of you doubt that God raises the dead to life?
Narrator: Everyone in the room is listening carefully to Paul as he makes his defense. They knew that Paul spoke truthfully about God’s promises. Paul begins to help the audience to see that he once felt the same way about Christians when he first heard them teaching that Jesus is the Promised Messiah who was crucified, buried and raised to life on the third day.
Paul: Before Jesus saved me I did everything I could to fight against the Name of Jesus from Nazareth. I did this first in Jerusalem, and with permission from the chief priests I put many of God’s people in jail. I even voted for them to be killed. I often had them punished in our synagogues, and I tried to force them to deny their faith in Christ. In fact, I was so angry with them, that I went looking for them in foreign cities so I could persecute them as well.
Narrator: It must have been painful for Paul to remember the sins he was guilty of before God. Paul shares how Jesus saved him from his sins and how his life was different after believing.
Paul: King Agrippa, on the day I traveled to Damascus to persecute Christians, I saw a light brighter than the sun. We all fell to the ground. I heard a voice say to me, “Saul, Saul, why are you so cruel to me? It’s foolish to fight against me!” I asked, “Who are you?” “I am Jesus! I am the one you have been persecuting. I have chosen you to be My servant. You are to tell others what you have learned about Me and what I will show you later. I will protect you from the Jews and from the Gentiles that I am sending you to. I want you to open their eyes, so they will turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then their sins will be forgiven, and by faith in me they will become part of God’s holy people.”
Narrator: Paul explains to Agrippa that he was obedient to what the Lord Jesus had commanded him to do.
Festus: (Jumps up and interrupts Paul) “Paul you are out of your mind!! All of your great learning is making you crazy!”
Narrator: The Holy Spirit gives every believer the power to effectively share the Good News with others. Paul was empowered by the Holy Spirit to acknowledge that Festus was being used by the enemy as a distraction to keep Agrippa from hearing the truth about Jesus.
Paul: I am not crazy, most excellent Festus. What I am saying is true and makes perfect sense.
Narrator: The Holy Spirit enabled Paul to answer Festus’ accusation of being crazy with gentleness and respect.
Paul: (Turns his attention again to Agrippa) “I know the king is familiar with all these things I have spoken about. None of these things have taken place in a secret corner but out in the open. King Agrippa do you believe the prophets? I know that you do.”
Agrippa: Do you think you can persuade me in such a short time to become a Christian?
Paul: Whether it takes a short time or a long time I pray that you and everyone who heard this message today will become a Christian just as I am. However, I do not pray that you would have to be a prisoner as I am.
Narrator: The King, Bernice and Festus leave the room to discuss what they should do with Paul.
Agrippa: Festus, this man has committed any crime. He doesn’t deserve to be in prison for any reason. If Paul would not have asked to stand before Caesar he could be set free at this very moment.
Narrator: Paul’s time to set sail for Rome has finally come. The Holy Spirit enabled Paul to be patient during this time of being a prisoner. Paul faithfully and truthfully shared his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ each time he had to give a defense. All believers can trust that the Holy Spirit will help them to share faithfully the Good News about Jesus.
Close in prayer.
- What can you do on a daily basis so you can be prepared to give an answer to those who ask you why you believe in Jesus? (Pray, read and study God’s word, memorize scripture)
- How different does your life look after you have become a Christian?