3. He hated the followers of Jesus (“How can this nobody from a country village be God's promised Son? It's all a cheat!”). He led men with weapons to break into the homes of Christians and dragged them to prison. He voted “YES!” for them to be stoned to death with great big rocks, and watched while it was done.

Truly SAUL had become a SLAYER, a killer.

  • Acts 7:54 – 8:3

The Prisoner's Post”

4. “There are more Christians in the far off city of Damascus!” Saul got a warrant to arrest them and set off on horseback with some other men.

As they came near to Damascus, suddenly a bright light shone around him, and he fell to the ground, stunned. A voice called out “Saul, Saul, why are you hurting me?” “Who are you Lord?” Saul said. “I am Jesus, whom you are hurting!”

  • Acts chapter 9

2. His name was SAUL when he was a young man. He thought that he knew what pleased God, and knew the first part of the Bible (what we call the “Old Testament”) inside out. Knowing God's Word is a good thing, but it led Saul to murder, for he didn't really understand it.

5. Saul was blind! He could no longer see. His men led him into the city, and for 3 days he did not eat or drink, just thought and prayed. “How wrong I've been! Jesus is the promised Son of God. He is alive and is the Lord! I'm no better than a murderer”

Jesus told Ananias, a Christian in the city (one of those Saul had come to arrest), to go to Saul and speak to him. “Him Lord!?” “Yes, for he is now my servant, to tell of me to all the nations.”.

Ananias finds him, and says “Brother Saul, Jesus has sent me so that you may see again.” Saul was forgiven! He became a new man. (See how Ananias , straight away, calls him “brother”, not “slayer”). Acts 9:17

1. An old man is in prison in Rome, capital of the mighty Roman Empire, chained to guards all day. For doing awful things? No, for doing good things!

In prison, he thinks of all that has happened, and writes letters (which we still have, in the Bible!) This man was named PAUL.

  • Acts 28:30,31 (i.e., chapter 28, verses 30 and 31)

  • Have you seen what Paul saw?

  • Jesus is the Son of God (that is, the Christ, and therefore He is God).

  • He is good.

  • He wants to be your Saviour and your King.

6. After eating and drinking, right away he began to tell everyone he could that Jesus is God's mighty Son, the promised One who was to come and rescue sinners like us.

SAUL the SLAYER had become PAUL the PREACHER. That is why he ended up in prison many times, and at last in Rome.

3. At last the day came. Jesus was born to ordinary people in an ordinary village, and in a shed at the back of the local hotel. Angels sang, and shepherds and wise men came to see and worship Him.

  • Micah 5:2

  • Matthew 1:18-25, 2:1-12

Skull Hill”

4. JESUS grew up like us all, but never did anything wrong and horrible like we do.

  • Luke 2:40 and 2:52

At 30 years of age he picked 12 followers to help him (“disciples” because they learned from Him, “apostles” because they were sent out by Him). He began to visit all the towns of Israel, healing the sick, comforting those troubled by the devil and preaching the best of news, truly Good News (“Gospel” means “good news”), that God's promised One had come. Even dead people were restored to life by Jesus.

  • Acts 10:36-39

  • John 14:6 ““I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (which is also on the mural of the funeral director's building in town)

2. God had long been repeating the PROMISE that Someone would come who would set things right (for all had gone wrong when our ancestors Adam and Eve turned away from God).

  • Genesis 3:15 (chapter 3 verse 15)

  • Isaiah 9:6,7

  • Isaiah 53

  • Acts 13:23

5. After 3 years Jesus was betrayed by Judas, one of the 12 apostles (God is showing us that the best of men on the outside can be rotten on the inside).

He was lied about by his own countrymen, and condemned to a cruel death by the Romans. To be nailed to a cross and left to die was only thought fit for criminals and runaway slaves.

They did this at the place of the SKULL. 2 real criminals were executed either side of Him. Luke 23:42,43. His own countrymen and the Romans poked fun at Him as He hung dying. “If he is God's Son, let him save himself!” Ah, but if He had, He could not then save us! The sin-less Son of God died so that sin-full US can be forgiven, so He could be our SAVIOUR.

1. PAUL in a Roman prison thinks back over all that has gone before, and of how he discovered the greatest treasure in the world.

He was a dead Saviour, but now is a living Saviour!

The place of DEATH has become the place of LIFE. Is He your Saviour and your King?

6. But... on the 3rd day, as some women went to His grave (a tomb in solid rock, with a great stone as a door) they found it EMPTY, and an angel of God told them, “He is not here, He is risen, as He said he would!” Acts 10:40-43

3. Paul was upset:-

  • for the poor slave-girl

  • for God's honour

  • at seeing the Devil's power over the girl

Paul orders the evil spirit to leave her, and it does! Her owners are angry (“no more money!”) and stir up a mob who drag Paul and Silas to the magistrates. They are flogged without any trial and the gaoler ** told to keep them safe, “or else!”. He throws them in the inner dungeon and locks their feet into heavy wooden stocks, so that they cannot move nor rest. That was NOT FAIR either. But they sing and praise God anyway, and the other prisoners heard them.

The Light”

** “gaoler” is sometimes spelt “jailer”

4. We love it to be fair, and cry out “not fair!” soon enough. But are you fair all the time? “Share these lollies with your sister” but instead you eat the lot. “Jimmy did it!” but you know he didn't. “You took my bike without asking and now its broken!”.

Now, GOD is FAIR. He sends an earthquake and the doors fly open, and the chains fall off. No ordinary eathquake! Other prisoners don't try to escape. It would not be fair to let criminals out. God makes sure that no one “gets away with it”. But God does free Paul and Silas, who had done nothing wrong. That is fair!

2. They used to go each day to the riverside where they prayed. Each day they passed a slave-girl who was an unwilling witch. An evil spirit whispered to her and made her into a lying fortune teller, and her owners made lots of money. That was NOT FAIR.

But God is in control; the slave girl cried out each day “These men are servants of the Most High God, and have come to show you the way of salvation!”

  • not servants of the make-believe little gods of the Romans, but of the true and only God.

  • even evil spirits must honour Jesus, though they hate Him

5. The gaoler is jolted awake, and sees the doors open. “They have all escaped!” he thinks, and takes his own sword to kill himself (Roman law was to kill a guard who lost his prisoners). Paul shouts out “STOP, don't hurt yourself!” See how Paul cares more for his gaoler than the gaoler ever did for him.

The gaoler calls for LIGHT, and comes in, trembling and terrified. “WHAT must I do to be saved?” he asks. Perhaps he had heard what the slave-girl had cried out. He knew he had done many wrong things (that's what sin is), and that the true God was great and FAIR.

Do you know that you are a sinner too?

Have you asked “What must I do to be saved?”

1. PAUL remembers the time that he and his friend Silas went to the Roman town of Philippi, and ended up in prison there. Acts chapter 16

The gaoler found Jesus, the LIGHT of the world. I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John's Gospel, 8:12. The gaoler trusted in Jesus and was forgiven.

Have you found the true LIGHT?

6. Paul tells him “BELIEVE in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved” Acts 16:31 Jesus took my punishment, so that I won't have to be punished. I must just trust in Him. Have you?

3. Paul answered “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 21:13

This is the same thing he wrote in his letter back to the Christians at Philippi (yesterdays' story). “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21.

Paul goes onward to Jerusalem.

Paul was at Jerusalem for a few days, living quietly and doing no one any harm.

Keep Going!”

4. But one day some enemies who hated Jesus and Paul's preaching about Him saw Paul. They stirred up a mob which turned into a riot as they tried to beat Paul to death. Seeing the riot, the chief Roman officer ran down with soldiers and pulled Paul out of the murderous mob, thinking he must be a great trouble-maker. The soldiers chained him, and had to carry him over their heads to the castle, because the mob was so wild. Paul tried to speak to the mob, but they would not listen for long, and shouted “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live.” The mob was out of control.

2. He was on his way back to Jerusalem, and he knew trouble waited for him there. Acts 20:22-24.

Along the way friends said to him, again and again, “DON'T GO!”. Acts 21:4. While he stayed at his friend Philip's house a prophet, Agabus, arrived from the region of Jerusalem. He did a strange thing; he picked up Paul's belt and tied his own hands and feet with it, saying “the man who owns this belt will be tied up at Jersualem.” Acts 21:11. Friends said again “DON'T GO!”.

5. Paul rescued? Not quite! Roman officer said “Flog him, till he tells us what this rioting is really about!” As they were about to whip him, Paul said “Is it right to whip a Roman citizen without a trial?” for Paul was a Roman citizen. So the Romans treated him kindly, and kept him safe (just as God had planned).

2 days later, after another near riot, the Lord Jesus came to Paul at night, to tell him to

BE BRAVE” Acts 23:11 “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome”

1. PAUL in the Roman prison thinks back on a time when he could have given up, but didn't.

Keep going Paul!

Keep going, all you who have trusted in Jesus!

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14.

I have fought the fight. I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me, but also to all who have loved his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7,8

6. 40 and 2 – a plot! 40 men promise never to eat nor drink until they have killed Paul. They plan to trick the Roman officer into bringing Paul out for a trial, but will kill him then. Paul's young nephew hears about it and tells the Roman officer, who sends Paul that night to a safe city, with an escort of hundreds of soldiers. God is keeping Paul safe.

Paul is under arrest for 2 years, without a fair trial. But he is able to tell the good news about the Lord Jesus to the Jewish king and 2 Roman Governors. God is at work through Paul. Paul asks to be judged before the Roman Emperor. Jesus had said Paul was to speak of him at Rome; now God will take him there.

3. Never! One person is not worrying – Paul is PRAYing. God often allows troubles so that we can pray to Him. He will not forget us! Why worry when you can pray!

An angel messenger from God tells Paul “Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And, behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.” Paul had been praying for all of them – even his Roman guards!

Paul tells them to cheer them up (“not a hair of your head will perish” Acts 27:34) and gets them to eat something. But he also tells them the ship will be wrecked on an island.

Shiver My Timbers”

4. About midnight “LAND HO!” - the sailors sense they are near to some land. Terror takes them, as the wind is blowing them towards the sound of breaking surf. They put out 4 anchors from the stern to stop the ship crashing on the rocks.

The sailors try to escape in the ship's boat, but Paul tells the Roman officer, and his men cut the boat loose. Without the sailors they must all drown. See how God answers Paul's prayer for their safety, yet the answer often comes through what we do too! Paul prayed, but he used his God-given common-sense too.

2. To Caesar! A very long voyage. Sailors want to go on, even though the winter has come with its threat of storms. Acts 27:9,10

A terrible storm hits the ship. It is so fierce that the sailors are scared stiff. So scared that on the 3rd day they dump the cargo overboard (“there goes all the money!”) The ship is helpless before the wind and waves. After 14 days of fury and darkness all hope is lost and all they can do is WORRY. Acts 27:13-20

Has God forgotten Paul, or has the storm taken God by surprise?

5. Dawn comes, and the sailors cut the anchors, and aim for the beach. Crash!!! The ship hits a sandbar and is stuck fast. The huge waves begin to break the ship apart. The Roman guards want to kill Paul and the other prisoners, in case they escape (remember, Roman guards were killed if they lost their prisoners). God stops them, for the Roman officer respects Paul, and orders them to let everyone go over the side and try for the shore.

Everyone gets ashore! All 276 of them are SAFE

1. PAUL thinks back over his difficult voyage to Rome, to appear before the Emperor.

God wants Paul to go to Rome and tell the good news of Jesus there.

  • No storm can stop him getting there

  • The Roman army cannot stop him getting there

  • A poisonous snake cannot stop him getting there.

  • We do not need to be afraid either.

Why worry when you can Pray?

6. There is still another trouble waiting. A fire is lit on the beach to keep them all warm. Paul gathers some sticks to help, but as he puts them on the fire, a poisonous snake (a viper) crawls out of the bundle and bites his hand. People expect him to drop dead, but he does not. God is still keeping him SAFE. Acts 28:5,6

3. The Roman Governor of the island, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent and thoughtful man, summoned them, for he very much wanted to hear God's word from them (this shows just how intelligent he was; many people show their foolishness by NOT wanting to hear God's word). Sergius wanted to know the truth – do you?

How can a man be alive after a Roman execution? The Romans were very careful in such things. If they said He was dead, He was dead!

Acts 13:7


4. BUT! There is nearly always a “but” somewhere! There was a magician named Elymas in the Governor's court. He thought it was BAD NEWS. Elymas was a sorceror, He was proud and loved to be called “Great One!” He loved his power over the people.

If the Governor believes these Christians, he won't believe me any more!”

2. They landed at the port city of Salamis on the east coast of the island, and journeyed across to Paphos on the west side. As they went they told the NEWS about Jesus to everyone they could. This was very GOOD news! God had sent a sin-less Saviour who gave His life so that sin-full people like us can be forgiven. And not only that, this Saviour, Jesus, is alive again, as King and Protector for all who trust in him.

5. The sorceror opposed Paul and Barnabas, and tried to stop Sergius the Governor from listening to their message. Acts 13:8

Paul would not put up with this. Sergius wants to here the truth, and he will! Paul, filled with the power of God's Holy Spirit, looked Elymas right in the eye and said “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Acts 13:9-11

1. PAUL in prison in Rome thinks back over his first missionary trip, to the island of Cyprus, in the Mediterranean Sea. He went with his friend Barnabas, who was a native of Cyprus. Acts 13:4-6

7. Then Sergius the Governor believed in Jesus too.

He saw the miracle of Elymas going blind.

He was amazed at the message Paul brought to him from God.

Do you believe like Sergius did?

If not, will you?

Only Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life! John 14:6

6. Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. Acts 13:11

It's TRUE!

  • Jesus IS Lord!

  • Jesus IS alive!

  • Jesus is greater than all magicians and their little make-believe gods!