- Tell who God used to help Paul escape from his enemies.
- Name people God gives us to love us and help us.
- Thank God for people who love us and care for us.
Once again, Paul's in a dangerous situation. He's in Jerusalem, and he's caught up in a controversy (see Acts 21). 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, Paul had shown his ID as a Roman citizen, and immediately it changed the way people treated him(16:37-38). Now he does it again when the Roman soldiers are ready to beat him for fomenting a riot (22:22-27).
While Paul is under arrest in the Roman barracks at night, the Lord himself appears. He's there to strengthen Paul: "Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome" (v. 11).
The next morning, a plot to have Paul killed is brewing among some of the Jews. They conspire with the chief priests to have Paul delivered to them for questioning.
But there's a family connection. The son of Paul's sister, his nephew, must have been enough of an insider to hear about the plot, and he goes straight to Paul to warn him. Now this must have all been dangerous business. The plotters would certainly endanger their own lives if they killed a Roman prisoner. If the plotting Jews discovered that Paul's nephew had betrayed their plan, he would certainly have been in danger too.
Paul acts immediately, calling one of the guards and sending his young nephew to tell his story to the commander. We don't know how old the nephew was exactly, but Luke emphasizes that he was a young man. Acts also says that the commander took him by the hand, which implies that he was just a boy. Whatever his age, here he is, standing before a powerful Roman commander with life and death at his disposal.
It's remarkable how clearly and forcefully the boy 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 again that Paul's Roman citizenship helped, since 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 detail along the way!
We recognize how the Lord works through ordinary human means. From a boy who overhears a threat and has the courage to act on it, to a paper designating Roman citizenship, everything is in God's hands, and will 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?
Assure your preschoolers that we don’t need to fear for our lives, as Paul did, when we tell other people about Jesus. On the other hand, they’re not too young to know that in some places in our world people do get in trouble or face danger when they talk about Jesus.
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DWELL helps kids find their place in God's Big Story. Learn more about this popular and trusted children’s ministry curriculum.