Here are some ideas for learning and teaching a few of the great principles in Acts 1-5. And while you’re here, I recommend you check out my free online course, “Seeking Jesus.”
Learning From Short Movie Clips
I think that learning from short video clips is fun in our multimedia age. Although there are no clips from “The Chosen” (YET!) that relate to Acts, the principles I talk about on my “Teaching with the Chosen” page apply.
This week, here are a couple of relevant video clips you might be interested in:
Any appropriate clip from the movie “Acts of the Apostles” (1994).
The Bible Project’s videos can be really helpful for getting a big picture overview. Here’s a link to their 10-minute video Acts, Part 1.
Short Clips from Seeking Jesus
I’ve pulled out a short clip from the “Seeking Jesus Course” connected to this week’s readings that you could use as a morning devotional or spiritual thought.
Ideas for Learning More About Acts 1-5
***A Big Picture in Apostolic Preaching in Acts (and what we can learn from it)***
Here, I outline a pattern in how the early apostles preached. If I were teaching these chapters, I might give learners the following passages and invite them to find patterns in what Peter and his associates taught: Acts 2:22–38, Acts 3:12–25, Acts 4:8–12, 5:30–32. What learners will discover is how Christ-centered early preaching was. There is no doubt that modern church leaders are centering their teachings on Christ (here’s a favorite recent example). Discuss how could we center our studies, our testimonies, and our teachings on Jesus Christ?
***The Miracle that Didn’t Happen***
If you appreciate 90s Country Music (or you’re teaching somebody who might), you could play the Garth Brooks song, “Unanswered Prayers.” Can you think of a time in your life when you’re glad you _didn’t_ receive the miracle you were praying for. Sometimes there is divine delay.
Joe Cochran recently pointed out an example of divine delay that appears in Acts 3—it touched my heart and I hope it will touch yours.
In Acts 3, Peter and John approached the temple complex to pray. The date isn’t clear, but it appears to have been relatively soon after Christ’s resurrection. We read, “One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, at three o’clock in the afternoon. And a man lame from birth was being carried in. People would lay him daily at the gate of the temple called the Beautiful Gate so that he could ask for alms from those entering the temple.” (Acts 3:1 –3, NRSV) We later learn that this man was more than 40 years old (see Acts 4:22).
The man saw Peter and John and asked for money. We read, “Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God” (Acts 3:4-8).
This was an amazing miracle, and as a result, people flocked to Peter and John to learn more. In fact, several thousand people believed their message. But what I want to focus on is the miracle that didn’t happen.
Note that this man had laid daily at the temple gate. Jesus Christ had gone in and out of the temple many times. Why didn’t he heal this man? Can you imagine this man, paralyzed from birth, having heard of the Savior’s miracles? Could he have watched Jesus enter and exit the temple, and wondered if Christ would come and see him? Did he ever lose hope when Christ didn’t heal him?
With hindsight, we can see Christ’s wisdom in not healing the man. Delaying the healing brought miraculous church growth. This is a powerful message for you and me when we feel left behind. Is there a miracle in your life that is not happening? Don’t lose hope. There may be a bigger plan than you can see right now.
I hope these resources are helpful to you in your learning and teaching this week!