Unit 29, Session 1: Stephen's Sermon
Stephen was one of the seven men chosen to serve as leaders in the early church at Jerusalem. (See Acts 6:1-7.) God blessed Stephen and gave him power to do wonders and miracles like some of the apostles.
Some of the Jews accused Stephen of blasphemy and dragged him to the Sanhedrin, a group of Jewish leaders who acted as a legal council. Stephen addressed the group. He drew from the Jewish history, which the leaders of the Sanhedrin would have known well. But Stephen taught from the Old Testament things the Jewish leaders had likely never realized.
As Stephen preached, he showed how the Old Testament pointed to a coming Savior and how that Savior was Jesus. Stephen pointed out that the Jews’ ancestors had rejected God’s prophets. And they were just like their fathers; they rejected the Messiah, the Lord Jesus. Not only did they reject Jesus, they killed Him!
The Jewish leaders rushed at Stephen. As he faced his enemies, Stephen looked into heaven and saw God’s glory. Jesus was standing at God’s right hand. The Jews forced Stephen out of the city, and they stoned him.
In Matthew 10:22, it says: “You will be hated by everyone because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Following Jesus will include difficulty and suffering. Jesus gives words of both warning and comfort: “Don’t be afraid” (Matt. 10:26).
Stephen was killed because he was a Christian. Jesus told His followers that they would be persecuted—hated, hurt, or even killed—for loving Him. Jesus also said that those who suffer for Him would be blessed. We can face suffering in this life because Jesus suffered first. He died and then rose again, and He is waiting for us in heaven.
Jesus Showed His Glory
(Matthew 17; Mark 9; Luke 9)
Jesus showed His glory to Peter, James, and John. Jesus said He would die, rise from the dead, and return to heaven. One day, Jesus will come back to earth in His glory to make all things new.
Family Discussion Questions
- How might we suffer because of our belief in Jesus?
• Why is Jesus worth any suffering we may face?
• How can we love people who don’t believe the gospel?
- What blessings do we look forward to as followers of Jesus?
• Have you ever faced suffering or persecution because of your faith? How did you react or how would you react?
• Do you ever feel afraid or embarrassed to talk about Jesus? Why or why not?
Right Hand Man
-Challenge kids to complete a task—such as drawing a simple figure, writing their name, or tossing and catching a ball—using only their left hands.
-Then ask them to do the same challenge using their right hands.
-Compare the results of both.
"It’s tough to complete tasks with your non-dominant hand! The majority of people in the world are right- handed. As a result, it is often considered a great honor to be at someone’s right hand. Someone’s “right hand” man or woman is their most trusted helper or advisor. Did you know Jesus is at God the Father’s right hand? Let’s learn more about that."
Think of a parent or parents you know who may just need an afternoon to themselves. Offer to have their child(ren) over for a play date while the parent has some free time to themselves. This may be a bigger blessing to them than you may realize. Like we are learning this unit, let's be the church!