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The Brave Nephew

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Marvel (4-5)Year 1Unit 6 (Marvel at God’s Protection)Session 3

The Brave Nephew

God used Paul's young nephew to rescue him from his enemies.
Faith Nurture Goals
  • Wonder at the surprising ways God uses to take care of his people.
  • Reflect on ways in which we might be a part of the church's mission.
  • Understand that God can use us to help others, just as Paul's nephew helped Paul.
  • Realize that God is in control of even the most dangerous situations.
Memory Challenge

Leader Reflection

Preparing to Tell God's Story

All of the Spirit-instilled premonitions Paul has had about Jerusalem turn out to be on target. He immediately gets caught up in controversy, and though he tries to calm the fears of his enemies, they cause another near riot. He's arrested by the Roman authorities, mostly for his own protection, and thrown into jail.

Once before (16:37-38) Paul has capitalized on his ID as a Roman citizen, and immediately the disclosure of his status changed the way the authorities treated him. Now he does it again when the Roman soldiers are ready to beat him for fomenting a riot (22:22-27).

During the night the Lord himself appears to Paul to strengthen him: "Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome" (v. 11).

The next morning some of the Jews begin planning to kill Paul. They conspire with the chief priests to have Paul delivered to them for questioning.

But there's a family connection. Paul's nephew, the son of his sister, must have been enough of an insider to hear about the plot. He went straight to Paul to warn him---at great personal risk (the plotting Jews would have been outraged if they had discovered what he'd done).

Paul acted immediately, calling one of the guards and sending his young nephew to tell his story to the commander of the guard. We don't know how old the nephew was, but Luke emphasizes that he was a young man. And the passage tells us that the commander took him by the hand, implying that he was just a boy. Here he is, standing before a powerful Roman commander who has the power of life and death at his disposal.

Remarkable, then, how clearly and forcefully he speaks to the commander, even suggesting a course of action. "Don't give in to them," the boy declares to the seasoned soldier. The commander listens and takes action to further protect Paul by sending him away to the district headquarters in Caesarea under cover of darkness.

It's clear once again that Paul's Roman citizenship helps him, as the commander notes this fact in his letter to the governor in Caesarea. Not only is Paul transferred at night, but he's guarded by a whole cavalry along the way!

We recognize in this story an example of how the Lord works through ordinary, human means. From a young man who overhears a threat and has the courage to act upon it to a paper designating Roman citizenship, all of the details are in God's hands and will together accomplish his purpose.

  • Why is Paul such a magnet for trouble, especially in Jerusalem?

  • How do you picture Paul’s nephew?

  • Humanly speaking, why did the Romans work so hard to protect Paul?

  • A great story to tell: riots, threats, a brave young man, and a night ride with the cavalry. Make sure the kids recognize the point of the story— that God is in control. And be sure they know that God is in control in our sometimes dangerous world as well.


Step 1 Gathering for God's Story

  • self smart
  • word smart
  • ​​people smart

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