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In today’s Christain Religious Studies class, We will continue learning about the Persecution of the Early Believers. We hope you enjoy the class!
- Persecution of The Church by Saul (Acts 8: 1-3, 9: 1-30)
- The Killing of James (Acts 12: 1-8)
PERSECUTION OF THE CHURCH BY SAUL
Saul was a Hebrew youth, adventurous and vibrant, a native of Tarsus, born of Jewish parents of the tribe of Benjamin. He was highly educated and studied law under Gamaliel, the great Hebrew teacher. He was also a Roman citizen by birth. He spent most of his life in Jerusalem and was a zealous member of the strictest Jewish religious party.
Saul was very active in the persecution of Christians in Jerusalem and the cities around him. Stephen was stoned to death in his presence. After the death of Stephen, he moved from house to house forcing the Christians out of their hiding places and clamping them into prison. During his time, he crippled several activities of the early Christians and caused lots of havoc to the Christian community. As a result of this, many believers were killed and lots more were insecure in Jerusalem which led to the flight of many Christians out of Jerusalem to other places outside the region. Saul was so zealous to bind all Christians and put them in prison. This prompted him to obtain permission from the high priest to travel to Damascus to bind the Christians there and bring them to the council for crucial legal judgement. It was on his way to Damascus that he had an encounter with Jesus who struck him down. He became blind and this led to his arrest. On the third after his blindness, God used one of the disciples in Damascus named Ananias to minister to him. He regained his sight and subsequently was conscripted into the army of the Lord. He became an apostle who won many nations unto the Lord.
- Examine the havoc Saul caused in the early church.
- What was the mission of Saul in Damascus?
THE KILLING OF JAMES
Another thorn in the flesh of the disciples was King Herod (Agrippa 1). He was a Jew by birth and he was appointed king of the Jews by the Roman authority that governed the Jews at the time. He was one of the major persecutors of the church. Herod was so violent and aggressive in his opposition to the gospel and was ready for anything to please the status quo of the religion of the Jews. He arrested and imprisoned James the brother of John (the sons of Zebedee). To satisfy the desire of his daughter, he killed James with the sword in a most gruesome manner. He beheaded him and released the head to his daughter as the birthday gift. He killed James in this manner purposely to intimidate the apostle and believers and to demonstrate to them the brutal way they would be killed if they continue in their belief.
When Herod saw that, the Jews were happy that he killed James one of the key apostles of the gospel, he proceeded to arrest Peter and put him in prison. To ensure that Peter would not escape or that his companions would not rescue him he placed him under the surveillance of four squads of soldiers. Herod’s intention was to put him on trial before the Jewish authority after the feast of Passover.
- Why did Herod kill James?
- Discuss Herod’s brutality against the church.
- State three reasons for the persecution of the church by Saul.
- Highlight two reasons for the killing of James by King Herod
- Discuss in details the arrest of Peter.
- Write a short note on the conversion of Saul.
- What was the disciples’ reaction to persecution?
- Christian Religious Knowledge for JSS. BK 3, by T.N.O Quarcoopome et al. Chapter 3, pages 39-40.
- Christian Religious Knowledge for JSS. BK 3 by Adeyinka. et al. Chapter 3, pages 21-23
- The king who violently dealt with the believers was (a) Augustus (b) Herod (c) Caesar (d) Apollo
- The best name to call the Jews is (a) Gentiles (b) Judaists (c) Unbelievers (d) Assailants
- What was the offence of James (a) preaching the gospel (b) disobedience to the law (c) causing confusion in the temple (d) preaching heresy to the Jews
- Peter was arrested because Herod wanted to (a) be promoted (b) satisfy the Jews (c) kill all the believers (d) put him in prison
- Saul was on his way to Damascus to arrest all believers (a) from Jerusalem (b) in Damascus (c) in Jerusalem (d) around Damascus
- How will you analyse the faith of Saul before his conversion?
- Discuss the position of the believers to the death of James and Stephen.
We have come to the end of this class. We do hope you enjoyed the class?
Should you have any further question, feel free to ask in the comment section below and trust us to respond as soon as possible.
We have come to the end of this term. It’s been a remarkable journey and we are glad that you have made it this far. For making it this far, we commend you for being resilient, you have taken charge of your education and future.
The Journey still continues though, we are moving on to Second Term. we hope to meet you there.
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