This week, we traveled with Paul to Caesarea. Governor Felix has agreed to listen to Paul's case. The Jewish leaders accuse Paul of three things. First, they claim he has caused riots all over the Roman empire. Secondly, Paul is accused of being disrespectful of the temple and the Jewish religion. Thirdly, he is a leader of the people who follow Jesus of Nazarene. Paul defends himself by stating that he had come down to Jerusalem 12 days prior. While in Jerusalem, he brought money to give to the poor and he was worshipping God according to the Jewish laws. At no time did he instigate a riot. But Paul did agree with the Jews that he is a follower of Jesus of Nazarene who died and rose again. Although Governor Felix realizes Paul is not guilty of any Roman law, he doesn't want to offend the Jews so he decided to make no judgement until the Roman captain who sent Paul to him arrives as give his statement. So Paul is sent to jail.
One day Governor Felix and his wife Drusilla invites Paul to talk to them. Paul shared the Gospel (the good news about Jesus) with them. He preaches righteousness, self-control and the judgement. Governor Felix is NOT righteous. He is a corrupt ruler. In fact he hopes that Paul will give him a bribe for his release. He does not have self-control. Drusilla is Governor Felix's third wife. He stole her from her first husband. So when Paul talks about the coming judgement for sinners, Governor Felix quickly dismisses Paul. As far as we know, Felix and Drusilla never put their trust in Jesus. Does that mean Paul was a bad witness for Jesus? No! God had told Paul that he would witness to Rome just as he had witness to Jerusalem. Paul was obedient. He told Felix and Drusilla about what he had seen and heard about Jesus. The result of Paul's witness/testimony is up to God.
After two years, a new governor was appointed. Governor Festus visited Jerusalem soon after he arrived in the area. Immediately the Jewish leaders talked to him about Paul. They wanted Paul to be brought back to Jerusalem for his trial. They were planning to ambush him and kill him before he arrived at Jerusalem. But Governor Festus told them he would oversee the trial in Caesarea because that was were Paul was in prison and that was where he was headed to next.
The day after Governor Festus arrived in Caesarea, he heard the complains against Paul. Upon realizing that the Jews were angry over Paul due to some religious argument, he asked Paul if he wanted to go to Jerusalem for his trial. Paul said "No, I appeal to Caesar." Since Paul was a Roman citizen he had the right to ask to be tried in the highest Roman court in Rome. Governor Festus said, "To Caesar you will go."
But before Governor Festus could arrange for Paul to be sent to Rome, he had visitors. King Agrippa and his sister came to Caesarea. Festus told King Agrippa about Paul. King Agrippa wanted to hear Paul. So the next day, Festus, King Agrippa, his sister and all the leading men of the region gathered to hear Paul speak. Immediately, Paul shared his story of how he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. He told them that Jesus commanded him to be His witness to the Jews and Gentiles. Then he pointed out to King Agrippa that the Jews were looking forward to the Messiah. Their Scripture told them that the Messiah would suffer and die. This is what Jesus had done.
"King Agrippa, don't you believe the prophets? I know that you do!" Paul said.
"What do you think in such a short time you will make me a Jesus follower." King Agrippa asked.
"Short or long. I pray that everyone who is listening will become as I am - a Jesus follower - except for these chains." Paul states.
Quickly King Agrippa stands and leaves. Everyone else follows. But as the King is leaving, he said, "This man would have been set free except that he has appealed to Caesar."
We have seen Paul was obedient in being God's witness to the Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews), to the poor lame man and to King Agrippa. He took every opportunity to share Jesus with others. We need to do the same.
For crafts this week, the kids made a Gospel Flipper Flapper. They were challenged to share the Gospel with the Flipper Flapper with someone this week. The Gold circle reminds us of God, who has no beginning and end. The circle also reminds us that He loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3, Romans 5:8). The gold color is a symbol of Heaven, God's home.
The next flap is a dirty heart. There is one thing that can't be in Heaven - sin. Unfortunately we all are sinners (Romans 3:10, 3:23, 5:12, 6:23). The Punishment for sin is eternal death - Hell.
The final flap is a clean heart. Romans 10:9, 13 tells us that we need to declare, believe and call to be saved from eternal death. Declare - to make a commitment to let Jesus be in control of your life. Believe - to be convinced that Jesus truly died and rose again. Call - to ask Jesus to save you from eternal death. If we do these things, then we are promised salvation (saved from eternal punishment). Have you declared, believed and called on Jesus? You can do that right now.
Here are some pictures of week 6: My husband gave me a bunch of pool noodles for Christmas. I made them into huge Lincoln Logs. This kids enjoyed playing with then. After a while the building turned into a full war with them throwing and hitting each other with the noodles. It is a good thing the noodles are soft!
Our game of the week was Pool Noodle Hockey.
We played a matching game for our review game. After a child answered a question correctly, he had a chance to find the different gospel symbols and match them.