Hi all! Welcome back! Today’s story is from Acts 9. (You can read our lesson/see our craft from last year HERE.)
If you remember from our last story about Stephen, when all the people were throwing rocks at Stephen to kill him (because he was teaching about Jesus), they all put down their coats by a man named Saul who was happy to see Stephen die.
Saul wanted to kill all of Jesus’ disciples. He went to the high priest and got permission to go to a city called Damascus where he could find any of Jesus’ followers and take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he traveled to Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you being mean to me and my people?”
“Who are you?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting (being mean to),” He replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and then you will be told what to do.”
The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone?! What was going on!? Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him into Damascus. For three days he was blind (couldn’t see), and did not eat or drink anything.
In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. (This is not the same Ananias who tried to lie to God. Do you have any friends that have the same name? Well sometimes people in the Bible had the same name too. So this is a different Ananias.)
God said to him, “Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord,” he answered.
God told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man named Saul…he is praying. In a dream he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
“Lord!” Ananias answered, “I have heard lots of bad things about this man and all the terrible things he has done to Your people in Jerusalem. Now he has come here with permission from the chief priests to arrest anyone who calls on your name!”
But God said to Ananias, “Go! I have chosen this man to tell EVERYONE about me…to the Israelites and even people who are not Israelites (gentiles).”
Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. He put his hands on Saul, and said, “Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, Saul could see again. He got up and was baptized, then he ate some food.
Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. He started to preach in the churches that Jesus is the Son of God. All the people who heard him were SO surprised and said, “Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa.
Isn’t this the same guy who was being SO mean in Jerusalem to those who love Jesus? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners?” They couldn’t believe it! Saul confused everyone living in Damascus by teaching and proving that Jesus is the Messiah.
Soon the people in Damascus who didn’t like Jesus started to plan to kill Saul. (Isn’t it funny that Saul used to kill people who loved Jesus and now he was about to be killed for loving Jesus!?) But some of his friends helped him escape the city and he went back to Jerusalem.
The disciples there were all afraid of him, and didn’t believe that he really had a changed heart. But one them, named Barnabas, took Saul and brought him to the disciples. He told them how Saul had seen God and that Jesus had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had taught without any fear in the name of Jesus. So Saul stayed with them and began teaching in the name of Jesus. And he even got a new name, Paul.
Then the church grew and grew and lots of people came to know Jesus.
Isn’t it AMAZING that God can take someone so set against Him and change their heart? There is no one that God does not love and no one that God can not reach. If you can think of the grumpiest, grouchiest, worst person you know…remember that God loves even them and He wants them to know Him! And because God can do anything…He can change their heart. Why don’t you pray for that person right now that God would help change their heart.
God used Saul…an average person who didn’t even like Him. He changed Saul’s heart and used Saul to tell SO SO many people about Him and to share His love with other people. God’s love changes an angry heart to a loving heart.
For our craft today we started with a brown piece of construction paper and drew a basic man shape like this one:
Then we took 1/2 piece of black and 1/2 piece of white paper and folded them in half. (I tape them together when i need my kids to cut out two papers at once). Then I drew a heart and they cut it out.
Next we cut a box out of the middle of the man’s tummy. To do this, we folded him in half and cut out a 1/2 box (big enough to fit the heart from step 2).
Then we opened the paper up and turned it over the back. On the back we taped a string in between the two hearts and taped the string top and bottom to the man (as pictured below).
(Above: Being silly)
Then we drew on a face and wrote on the white side of our heart “God changed Saul’s heart! Acts 9”
(You can now spin the heart from the black side to the white side as you remember that God can change an angry, sad heart to a heart full of His love.)
This is a cute video version of the story posted by Teaching Kids About Jesus.
Thanks for joining us today. Love to you all.