Paul was sitting in prison with every reason to be discouraged. He was just days away from his execution at the hands of Emperor Nero. He was isolated and treated like a man to be scorned, unlike his earlier stints in jail. The Emperor Nero had blamed the Christians for the great fire that destroyed the city of Rome. For the first time they were subjected to terrible persecution and citizens from every corner of the empire turned against them. Christians were burned as living torches to light the emperor's social gatherings. They were thrown to lions and killed by gladiators.
“And immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.” (v. 52b)
Good morning whoever is out there.
I hope you boys and girls are here this morning. Since I can't see you, let me know if you are actually present. (have the children touch and/or speak and/or sing) (Humor works, like have the children repeat something silly like, “Good morning fantastic, awesome, most highest lord pastor/teacher”)
I remember going to a Lent group years ago, where the priest gave all us lay folk a piece of paper and a pen and asked us to write down what we knew about Jesus. He didn't want us to write down what we'd been told about Jesus or read about Jesus, but simply what we knew for ourselves from our own experience.
I ended up with a blank sheet of paper, but one person wrote, "I know that Jesus saves me." That led onto an interesting discussion along the lines of: saves you from something? Or for something?