Note to the Teacher
The key phrase in this scripture (for this lesson) is “Who are you Lord?” The ice breaker gets students to know one another’s names better. The discussion explores the story of Saul’s conversion and encourages students to consider the importance of listening to the voices of others. The activity allows students to walk blindfolded through an obstacle course to relate to the feeling of blindness and consider the importance of listening to God’s voice. Times are based on a fifty-minute lesson period but may be adjusted.
1. Ice Breaker: Who’s Behind the Blanket? (10 minutes)
Begin by going around the room and having students share their name once. Have two people hold up a blanket and have two students approach it from opposite sides. Count down from three and have the students drop the blanket. The first person to say the other person’s name on the other side of the blanket wins. Repeat this with all of the students present, and even mix it up, so students get to go more than once. If meeting online, have everyone turn off their video, then privately message one student to turn on the video. Ensure that each participant has changed or hidden their name from their account. The first student to shout his/her name gets a point. Repeat until all students have been named and called.
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
Our scripture reading today happens after Jesus has died and has been raised, during the period when the early church was just getting started. The people in the early church were being persecuted by a zealous Pharisee named Saul.
Read Acts 9:1-20.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
We see a dramatic conversion experience in the story today. Saul was an extremely zealous Pharisee persecuting Christians who suddenly becomes a Christian himself.
- Why do you think it took something so dramatic as Jesus appearing to Saul and blinding him to stop him from persecuting Jesus’ followers?
- Why is it so much easier to focus on ourselves and what we think is right rather than the needs of others or what God thinks is right?
- Have you ever had to be corrected in a way that was painful but was right? In other words, after the correction, you realized that what you were doing was wrong?
Read Philippians 2:4.
- Why might Paul, the man who was blinded and knocked off his horse in Acts 9, tell the church in Philippi that they should look not to their “own interests, but to the interests of others”?
- Looking toward the interests of others helps people feel heard. Why is it important that we hear the stories of others?
- What voices do you think you need to hear today that might have been silenced in the certainty of your belief? In other words, whom have you ignored because you feel you are right?
Consider Saul, who was so certain that he was right in his persecution of Christians that he was killing people. It took Jesus showing up in front of him to knock him off his horse and stop him. What can you do in your life to avoid this kind of arrogance?
4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)
Set up an obstacle course in a space of your choosing, but don’t let the students see it. It doesn’t have to be complex, but a just a place where students have to walk from point A to point B with objects in their way. Start the lesson in another location, so students don’t see the obstacle course. When you reach this point in the lesson, choose a student, blindfold him/her, and lead the student by the hand to the beginning of the obstacle course.
Designate a second adult volunteer to stand to the side of the course and guide the blindfolded student through the course with only voice directions. The adult cannot touch the student as he/she moves through the course. The adult must tell the student to move right, move left, step up, duck down, or whatever it takes to get the student through the course. Repeat this process for each student present.
If meeting online, look up a brief “choose your own adventure” story, read, and invite students to make their choices on their own. Then have a second “choose your own adventure” story ready that another student has the best choices beforehand. Have that student offer clues or suggestions as the adventure goes on, or when the group is in danger of making a bad choice.
Wrap up with these discussion questions:
- What was the hardest part of the obstacle course? Why?
- How did you feel being led through the course by someone’s voice? Did you have to slow down to avoid hitting objects?
- How important was it that you listen to that voice while you were in the middle of the obstacle course?
- How does Jesus as Lord help us make better choices?
- How is the Holy Spirit like a guiding voice?
- How do we hear God’s voice in our lives?
Paul was physically blinded by Jesus, but he was metaphorically blinded to the truth by his zealous, murderous rage. Be sure to listen to the voice of truth, God’s voice, as you navigate this world, so you do not end up silencing other voices that might be different from yours.
Total Time: 50 minutes
- Objects that can be used to set up a simple obstacle course: chairs, desks, tables, pillows, furniture, etc.
 Pharisees were the Jewish religious leaders who told people the law of God and how to follow that law. They were often very strict because they felt that the nation had to follow God’s law precisely and not sway from It so the Messiah would come. They were often in opposition to Jesus in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).