Acts 9:10-25; 14:1-22
Saul was blind when he arrived at Damascus, but by the time he left he could see again with his eyes and his heart. Saul became one of Jesus’ strongest followers. He also changed his name, now he was called Paul. Paul traveled from village to village and told people his story. He had been a religious leader who had wanted to kill all Christians before God had met him and changed him. Jesus had forgiven him and Paul wanted nothing more than to tell people how Jesus could change lives.
Sometimes Paul traveled with friends, one of whom was a man named Barnabas. Together they went from city to city and taught the same things Jesus had taught. Sometimes they made friends and sometimes they made enemies. In one place they met a man who had never been able to walk. This man listened to Paul with all his heart.
Paul said. “Stand up!”
The man jumped up and could walk! He was so happy, he started dancing!
Later, some Jews from Antioch told many people that Paul was evil. They beat him up and threw rocks at him until they thought he was dead. Then, they dragged him outside the city. While the disciples stood around his body, Paul got up and went right back into the city to preach, as if nothing had happened!
One day, Paul and his friends healed a young girl. She was a slave who could tell other people’s fortunes and while she was sick, her masters had made a lot of money from this. When Paul made her better, her masters could not make anymore money and so they grew angry. They grabbed Paul and Silas, dragged them to the police, lied about them and called them traitors. An angry mob beat Paul and Silas and afterwards they threw the two men into prison. Paul and Silas had their feet fastened between heavy blocks of wood and were chained and put under heavy guard.
They were chained in one position so they could not even move around a little bit. Their backs ached from the beating the guards had given them. It looked like a hopeless time for the two apostles but Paul and Silas did not give up. They did not complain. Instead, they sang!
At about midnight, they sang and prayed, praising God while the other prisoners listened to them. Suddenly, a great earthquake shook the prison and the cell doors swung open. Everyone’s chains came undone.
When the jailer woke up and saw all the doors open he drew his sword and was about to kill himself. He thought all the prisoners had escaped and he knew his punishment would be terrible.
Paul cried out. “Don’t hurt yourself, we’re all still here!”
The jailer called for lights and rushed in trembling with fear as he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then, he led them out of the prison.
He asked. “Tell me, please, how do I become a follower of your God?”
Paul and Silas said. “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.”
The jailer nodded and brought Paul and Silas to his own home. There he washed their wounds as the rest of the family listened to Paul talk about Jesus. They wanted to become Christians too. The jailer and his family were all baptized right there. Then they served a meal to the apostles. Everyone was filled with joy because they knew what it meant to believe in God.