This lesson is about Paul’s experience in Malta and finally arriving in Rome where he remained under house arrest. The students will learn how the Holy Spirit enabled Paul to use whatever situation he was in to point others to Jesus.
This lesson was created for older elementary students and is only a suggested guide for your ministry needs. Click here to see all the lessons in this curriculum series.
Bible Story: Paul Arrives in Rome
Scripture: Acts 28
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, snake, ‘fire pit’, sticks
Learning Goal: Students will learn that the Holy Spirit enables all believers to use their circumstances to point others to Jesus.
Test: Review Questions
Memory Verse: Philemon 1:6 “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.”
Memory Verse Activity: Create a dice for students to roll that has places/situations where they can share the Good News. (School, neighborhood, grocery store, hospital, etc.) or put pictures on paper plates and have students throw a bean bag on to the one they choose. When the place/situation is revealed have students share how children their age can share the Good News.
Bible Lesson: Rome at Last!
(Open with prayer)
(If you studied the lesson on Acts 27 begin by allowing students to re-enact the Shipwreck)
Let’s open our Bibles to Acts 28. The last we heard of Paul and the passengers they were frantically swimming with pieces of a broken and sinking ship.
All of the passengers swam safely to the shore of an island. They survived a terrible shipwreck and were standing cold and wet on the shore of an island.
Let’s stop for a minute and put ourselves in Paul’s shoes. Let’s briefly recap the last few years of his life. Where had he been for the last 2 years? (Imprisoned in Caesarea) Where did God promise Paul he would go to share the Gospel? (Rome) What happened as Paul set sail to Rome? (A terrible storm came and the shipwrecked)
How would you feel if you were living Paul’s life? How would you react to his circumstances? What would be a very natural reaction to so much difficulty? (Quit) How was Paul able to persevere no matter what circumstance he faced? (The Holy Spirit gave him courage and power to persevere)
The Holy Spirit enabled Paul to see each situation that he faced as an opportunity to share the Good news with others. As we continue our journey with Paul to Rome let’s keep our eyes open for how he used the situation to point others to Jesus rather than throw a pity party and quit.
Let’s turn our attention back to Acts 28:2. The people living on the island must have heard the noise and cries of the people from the shipwreck. The islanders were walking in the direction of the survivors. A thought that must have crossed Paul and the rest of the survivors’ minds was: “Were these people friends or enemies? Did they survive a shipwreck to be killed on an island of complete strangers?” Knowing what you already know about Paul do you think he was afraid that he was going to be killed on this island? (Why or why not?)
Let’s read verse 2 to find out what kind of people were coming to the group of survivors. God’s word tells us that they showed the survivors unusual kindness. They must have spoken kind and comforting words. They welcomed everyone to the island of Malta. Immediately they began to start a fire so the survivors could get warm.
Paul helped the people from Malta by going and gathering a bunch of sticks to help keep the fire burning. As he threw his sticks onto the fire a viper slithered out of the sticks to avoid the burning hot flame and clamped his fangs right on the hand of Paul. (Choose a student to be Paul to act this story out. Have the pretend snack under your ‘fire pit’ and ss he throws the stick into the fire pull it out and latch it on his arm.)
The natives of the island stood there with their eyes wide open. One of the people said, “Surely this man is a murderer. He should have died at sea but since he didn’t he is going to die by the poison of this viper.” The people of this island most likely didn’t worship the One True God and they had their own superstitious beliefs. They thought that because this viper had bitten Paul he must have been a sinful man and the gods were going to kill him because of it. What they didn’t know is that Paul was a servant of the Most High God and He had a plan for Paul’s life. He had told Paul that he would be going to Rome to share the Gospel of Jesus with the Roman people.
The natives stood there waiting to see Paul fall to the ground and start writhing in pain with froth coming from his mouth as he gasped for his last breath. That’s not what they saw. They saw this man shake the viper of his hand and the slimy creature flew into the fire and Paul went on warming himself by the fire.
The natives were still waiting to see Paul’s hand swell up as big as a balloon and fall down dead. They waited and watched, and waited and watched but Paul did not fall down dead. God did not allow Paul to be harmed by the poison of the viper.
“This man is not a murderer,” they said. “This man must be a god.” They were amazed that a man could survive a bite from a very poisonous viper!
On the island of Malta there was a chief official named Publius. He invited Paul and his friends to stay with him for three days. While staying at Publius’ house, his father became very ill. He had a high fever and was not able to get out of bed. Paul went into his room and got on his knees and prayed for this man and asked God to heal him. God healed Publius’ father.
When the news got around the island that Paul had healed Publius’ father many people who were sick and had diseases came to Paul so that they could be healed. God healed those people who had come to Paul to be healed.
The Bible doesn’t tell us that any of these people believed in the Lord Jesus. Do you think Paul told these people in Malta about Jesus? Do you think he let the people believe it was his power healing the people?
The Holy Spirit enabled Paul to use this opportunity to point the people on Malta to Jesus. They were blessed because Paul was on their island. They treated Paul and his friends kindly and gave them things they would need when they would be traveling on a ship to Rome.
After three months of being on the island of Malta, Paul and his friends boarded a ship called the Twin Brothers and they set sail for the city of Rome. When they finally arrived in Rome, many believers who lived in Rome came and greeted him as he got off the ship. When Paul saw them he was greatly encouraged and thanked God for sending them to him.
Paul has finally arrived in Rome. All the prisoners were taken to a prison, except for Paul. He was allowed to live in a house by himself with a soldier who guarded him.
Paul used every opportunity that God gave him to share the Good News. Being allowed to live in his own home with a prisoner guarding him was a great opportunity to share the Good News to anyone who could come to his house.
After three days of being in Rome Paul invited the leaders of the Jews to come to his house. Let’s read verses 23-24.
These Jews heard Paul explain the Good News. All these years the Jewish people had been waiting for God to send the Savior. Now they had heard the truth that God had sent His Son Jesus as the Savior of the world.
As they heard Paul’s message some of the people believed what Paul was saying but others did not believe. The two groups did not agree with one another and when Paul saw them disagreeing he quoted a verse from Isaiah. Choose volunteers to read verses 26-27.
The Jews left Paul’s house and continued to disagree with each other. One group believed Paul and the other did not and they were continued to quarrel among themselves as they left.
Paul stayed in his home guarded by a soldier for 2 years and whoever came to him to hear him preach about Jesus he welcomed into his home. Read verse 31. Every time someone came to him he freely taught him/her the Good News. The Holy Spirit enabled Paul to use whatever situation he was in to point others to Jesus.
Paul didn’t waste any time feeling sorry for himself. He wasn’t bitter, angry or resentful toward God or those who were responsible for his imprisonment. The Holy Spirit enabled Paul to trust God and walk with Him no matter what his circumstances were. Philippians 1:12-13 “Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.”
As a result of Paul’s willingness to use each opportunity that God gave him to point others to Jesus many people believed in Jesus.
Paul lived over 2,000 years ago. I don’t think we could ever know until we get to heaven how many people have become believers because Paul was obedient to the job God had given him to do. He allowed the Holy Spirit to empower him to do whatever God told Him. Even as we read about Paul’s life the Holy Spirit can use his example to cause people to believe in the Lord Jesus.
Today believers have the same exciting privilege and responsibility to obey God and do what He tells us to do. Each of us has been placed in our situations so we can share the Good News about Jesus with those we come in contact with. The Holy Spirit will empower believers to do whatever God asks him/her to do.
Close in prayer.
- What is the name of the Island the survivors landed on?
- How did the people of Malta treat the survivors?
- Why did the people think Paul was a murderer?
- How did God use Paul on the island of Malta to help others learn about God?
- When Paul was in Rome how was his life as a prisoner different than the lives of other prisoners?
- What happened when Paul taught the Jews about the Scriptures and how Jesus is the Savior?
- How long did Paul teach anyone who visited his house about Jesus?
- The people on Malta were very kind to Paul. How can you show kindness to someone this week?
Personal Application Questions:
The believers who met Paul when he arrived in Rome encouraged him. How can you encourage another believer this week?
For believers: What is hindering you from boldly sharing the Gospel with others?
For unbelievers: Have you heard the Good News and have chosen not to believe? Today you can be saved. Each day you put off believing that Jesus died for your sins, was buried and rose again you are closing your heart and mind to the Truth making it harder for you to be saved.
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