Have I mentioned lately that I’ve loved the series we’ve been doing on the book of Acts? It’s been great for me to experience the stories all over again and to share them with some of the kids who haven’t all heard them! This week’s lesson is about Philip and the Ethiopian. Let me know what you think and, if you’re just jumping into this series with us now, check out the links at the bottom to previous lessons from this unit!
Goal: Today we will learn that God goes before us to prepare the way.
Key Scripture: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:8, NIV
Here’s What You’ll Need:
- Story cards from Seeds of Faith (I colored them in to make them a bit more attractive)
- World map
- 10 plastic Easter eggs
- Slips of paper with the letters to spell the phrase “Jesus Saves”
- 25 copies of Ethiopian Man Watercoloring Activity from The Building Blocks Learning Program (scroll to page 21)
- Cups of water
- Glue sticks
- Construction paper
Introduction: Spread a quilt out on your lap to show the children the pattern and detail.
Explain that it takes quite a bit of planning to make a quilt. The quilter has to select the fabric, the pattern, the stitch, and plan how they all will work together. Show the children the intricate designs. Tell the children that even though different fabrics or designs are used, they all work together to form one beautiful quilt. Explain that each of our lives is like a quilt, one that God has planned and designed to work together. Explain that in today’s lesson God made a careful plan to help two men to meet for a very special reason.
Lesson: Using the prepared story cards, tell the story of Philip and the Ethiopian.
Card 1: Philip was a disciple that we learn about in the book of Acts. One day, an angel of the Lord came to talk to Philip. He told Philip to go to the desert road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. Philip obeyed and started out on the road to Gaza (Using a world map, point out the general direction that Philip would have traveled).
Card 2: On his way down the road, Philip saw a man from Ethiopia. This was an important royal official. He had traveled to Jerusalem to worship. The Ethiopian was riding in his chariot and he was reading the book of Isaiah the prophet.
Card 3: The Holy Spirit told Philip to go to up to the chariot and to stay near it. Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading from the book of Isaiah.
Card 4: The Ethiopian was reading a prophecy from the book of Isaiah. A prophecy is a prediction about something that is going to happen in the future. The book of Isaiah, which had been written hundreds of years before Jesus, prophesied all about Jesus. It even described how the Son of God would have to be killed so that people could be forgiven. That is the part of the scripture that the Ethiopian was reading.
Card 5: When Philip heard the Ethiopian reading, he asked: “Do you understand what you are reading?” “How can I,” the Ethiopian said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he asked Philip to come up and sit with him.
Card 6: Philip started explaining the scripture to him. He told him the good news about Jesus. The man listened to Philip and he wanted to be a disciple of Jesus.
Card 7: As they were traveling and talking, they came to some water. The Ethiopian said, “Look! Here is water! Why shouldn’t I be baptized?” He ordered his servants to stop the chariot.
Card 8: Then both Philip and the Ethiopian got down into the water and Philip baptized him. He was so happy! Then God took Philip away and Philip continued to preach the good news in many towns—and the Ethiopian went on his way rejoicing.
Explain that the Ethiopian needed help to understand what the Scriptures, but God knew that ahead of time and prepared a way to help him understand – by sending Philip!
Good News! (Part 1): Provide the children with the Ethiopian man activity page, watercolors, and paint brushes. Have them paint the Ethiopian man with the water colors—sort of like baptizing him! Ensure that everyone’s name is on their paper, then leave pieces to dry.
What Did You Learn? Mix up the story cards and have the kids put the cards in the correct order, retelling each part of the story as they arrange.
Game: Play “Pass it on!” Have the children line up in a straight line and give each a plastic spoon. Place a bucket of plastic Easter eggs at one end of the line and an empty bucket at the end of the line. Tell the children that their job will be to pass the Easter eggs down the line using only their spoons, not their hands. Once all the eggs have made it over to the second bucket, the children must open the eggs and unscramble the message (Each egg should contain a letter to spell out “J-E-S-U-S-S-A-V-E-S”).
Once the children have finished, explain that, just as they were at first confused by the scrambled message, so the Ethiopian man was also confused. But, God prepared a way for him to understand by sending Philip to Him.
Prayer Station: Spread the quilt in the center of the room and have the children sit around the edge of it. Have the children trace stitch patterns on the quilt with their fingers and thank God that He has a plan for each of them and has already prepared the way for them.
Good News! (Part 2): Once the watercolor artwork has dried, cut and paste the Ethiopian man and the message to a piece of construction paper. Ensure that everyone’s name is on their paper.
Check out our other adventures in the book of Acts!
- A Miraculous Catch (John 21:1-25)
- Jesus Ascends to Heaven (Acts 1:1-11)
- The Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13)
- The Holy Spirit Can Live in Your Heart (Acts 2:1-13)
- There’s a System in Place (Acts 2:14-21)
- Go, Team Fillmore! (Acts 2:42-47)
- Peter and John Heal a Lame Man (Acts 3)
- Healing in the Name of Jesus (Acts 3)
- There is Power in the Name of Jesus! (Acts 4:1-22)
- Sharing in the Early Church (Acts 4:32-37)
- Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11)
- The Choosing of the Seven (Acts 6:1-7)
- The Stoning of Stephen (Acts 6:8-7:60)