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Sunday School

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THE LESSON BACKGROUND.


Paul and a group of other prisoners were on their way to Rome. Paul had been preaching the gospel in Jerusalem which caused a mob to come against him. The Roman soldiers heard about the mob and went to get them under control. They found them beating Paul and when the mob saw the Roman soldiers they stopped beating him and dispersed. Then the Roman soldiers took him into protective custody. Paul was later called before the Sanhedrin Council to defend himself and his teachings. As he spoke, the Pharisees and the Sadducees on the council became so angry with him that the soldiers had to take him away fearing that these Jewish religious leaders were going to kill him. The next night, the LORD stood by Paul telling him to be of good cheer, for just as he had preached about the LORD in Jerusalem, he must also testify for Him in Rome. After being held in custody in Caesarea for two years, Paul was called before Festus, the Governor to explain why he had been held for so long. Paul defended himself again, but got nowhere with Festus. So, since he was a Roman citizen, Paul said he wanted to take his case to Caesar in Rome and Festus told him that since he appealed to Caesar, to Caesar he would go. A few days later, King Agrippa came to visit Festus who told the king about Paul’s situation. This caused interest in the king so he asked to speak with Paul. Paul told the king about his Damascus Road vision that led him to faith in Jesus Christ, and that the religious leaders wanted to kill him for preaching the gospel. After hearing from Paul, Agrippa couldn’t find anything wrong with what he said, so he said to Festus, “this man may have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar” (see Acts 26:32). Soon Paul was put on a ship headed to Rome and during the trip, a great storm arose and some of the men aboard wanted to try to save their lives by jumping ship and maybe swim to the shore. But Paul told them to stay on the ship because even though the ship would be destroyed no one aboard would die. And just as Paul said, the ship was destroyed but everyone on board made it safely to shore. This is where our lesson begins.

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