Lesson 1: Acts 7:55--60 (C) In the presence of Saul, Stephen is stoned to death. This pericope is the conclusion to Stephen's bold witness to Jesus. He aroused his hearers' anger to the point that they stoned him to death. Several items stand out: (1) This is the only time Jesus is referred to as "Son of Man" by one other than Jesus himself; (2) Only here is the ascended Jesus portrayed as "standing" at the right hand of God; (3) Saul is a consenting spectator; and (4) Stephen dies with a prayer of forgiveness.
I am so happy to see you this morning. How are you? (children may respond)
Let's play a game I call “Lost and Found.” Okay? (children respond)
(presenter role plays) Uh, oh, I lost something for today's message. Hmm, I wonder where it could be. It's a box like this. (shows approximate dimensions) (instruct the children to look around the immediate area) (then presenter or child finds it)
Since the Fourth Sunday in Lent has been historically identified as Laetare (Rejoicing Sunday), it is most appropriate that the lessons collectively testify to a theme for which we can rejoice — God saves us by his grace!
In this familiar and well-loved story of the Prodigal Son, I often wonder what happened to the mother of the family. She's totally ignored. So are any daughters. It seems like a completely male stronghold. So much so that I wonder whether perhaps the mother had died some years previously, and that was the cause of much of the unhappiness displayed by both the father and the sons. Or whether the father was such a domineering character that his wife played no real part in family life, but simply bowed her head in compliance with all his wishes, no matter how extreme they were.