Week 49: Acts 21-28 – Paul’s Imprisonments

Acts 21-28 – Paul’s Imprisonments

As a family, read Acts 28:17-30 together. Afterwards, share the following discussion.

What happened?

Paul traveled constantly, sharing the Good News of Jesus with everyone he met. Paul was on his way back to Jerusalem when someone warned him that if he returned there, he would be imprisoned for his faith. He decided to continue his journey and allow the Lord’s will to be done. When Paul finally arrived, he was welcomed by the believers and told that many Jews had believed. One day a mob rose up and tried to kill Paul in the temple, falsely accusing him of preaching against the Jews. He was eventually arrested.

The rest of Acts tells how Paul was mistreated and kept in the custody of the Roman government. Paul’s case put him in front of several important people. Each time he shared what God had done in his life. Some people became really angry that nothing was happening with Paul’s trial, so they decided that they were going to kill Paul themselves. Rumor of this got back to the government, and a decision was made to get Paul out of town. He was sent to Caesarea where he was left in jail for over two years. After several trials, a decision was made to send Paul to Rome.

On his way to Rome, Paul’s ship was met with a fierce storm that left him and the crew shipwrecked on a strange island. On this island a poisonous snake bit Paul, but God did not allow him to die. Paul was able to share his story with the people of the island. About three months after the shipwreck, another ship picked up Paul for the journey to Rome. While there, he did not go to jail but was allowed to live under house arrest with freedom to share the gospel with all who would listen.

Why is this important to us today?

Throughout Paul’s life as a Christian, he was constantly persecuted for his belief in Christ. God enabled him to tell about Jesus in spite of every hardship. In fact, Paul testified about his faith before kings and rulers because he was arrested for following Christ. Today, Christians in all parts of the world are still persecuted for their beliefs. In some countries, the churches have to meet in secret because it’s against the law to be a Christian. In America, we have the freedom to worship God and go to the church of our choice. Sometimes that means being made fun of or being thought of as narrow-minded. Like Paul, God will use you in whatever situation you are in today.

Spend a few minutes talking about what you just read by answering these questions:

1. When has someone treated you differently because of your faith in Christ?

2. Discuss how your family would react if being a follower of Christ and going to church were against the law.

How can we better follow God this week?

God has blessed us with the freedom to serve Him openly. Take a few moments now to thank God for the freedom to follow Jesus and not be persecuted. Also, pray for those who are being persecuted for their faith in Christ. Ask God to keep them strong and enable them to stand firm in their witness for Christ wherever they are.

Will you decide to stand strong and be a faithful witness for Jesus, even if it means that others make fun of you? How do you plan to use your religious freedom this week?