Saul was a young man, a native of Tarsus. He studied law under Gamaliel, the great teacher. His Roman name was Paul. Saul played a significant role in the persecution of Christians in Jerusalem and beyond. Stephen was killed under his supervision.
After Stephen had been killed, Saul went from house to house to the others in Jerusalem, arresting and dragging apostles out of their homes and taking them to prison. With this, so many believers were killed .
This action made many believers and the rest of the apostles to flee Jerusalem. Saul, in addition went to the High Priest and demanded a letter of authority permitting him to go to Damascus to arrest the believers. It was on his way that he met Jesus, and thereafter he got converted.
Significance /Lesson to learn
- It is very important to note that it was the stiff opposition the early Christians faced that acted as the necessary ingredient in the spread of the gospel.
- The boldness and the courage of the Christians then was enhanced by the Holy spirit.
- The disciples chose to obey God rather than man. This is a lesson for today’s Christians.
- The opposition led to the conversion of the chief opposer, Saul, who later became the greatest evangelist in Christianity.
- Who was Saul? What was his role in the opposition against Christianity.
- Compare and contrast the opposition of the early church and those of the church today.
HEROD’S OPPOSITION TO THE GOSPEL
King Herod Agrippa 1 persecuted the church. He beheaded James, the brother of John. When he realised that it really pleased the Jews, he took Peter and put him in a prison and to be guarded by heavy security. This happened during the feast of unleavened bread. While Peter was in prison, earnest prayer was made by the Church to God. The very night when Herod was about to bring him out, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, the prison heavily guarded.
An angel of God appeared to him and struck Peter on the side and woke him. He led Peter out of the prison to the city gate. Peter regained his consciousness and realised that God had sent his angel to set him free from the hand of Herod and the expectation of the Jews. Peter went to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark. They were still praying to God for the release of Peter when his knock was heard on the door. Rhoda, a young maid, called their attention to the door. Peter met a large number of people praying and recounted his experience in prison.
In the morning, there was great commotion among the soldiers; they could not say what actually happened to Peter. This angered Herod and ordered the guards to be executed. Later, Herod gave a speech in Tyre and Sidon and he was flattered that he has ceased to be human but now God. Suddenly, an angel of God smote him and he was eaten up by worms and died.
Describe the role of Herod Agrippa in the persecution of the church.
GENERAL EVALUATION/REVISION QUESTIONS
- Describe the role of the angel in the escape of Peter.
- Describe the personality of Herod Agrippa 1.
- How can Nigerians learn from David in respect of his submission to the will of God and forgiving spirit.
- Discuss the circumstances that led to the death of Abner.
- King Herod beheaded___. A.John B. Barak C. Cain D. James
- The mother of John Mark is___. A. Salome B. Martha C. Nancy D. Mary
- ___ ate up Herod. A. Snakes B. Scorpions C. Worms D. Termites
- The young lady that knew that Peter was at the door was___. A. Dinah B. Rhoda C. Mary
- The number of soldiers bounded with Peter were__. A. 4 B. 2 C. 6 D. 5
- Narrate the persecution of the Church by Herod Agrippa.
- Mention ways the Church handle persecution in our present time.