Council of Jerusalem

THE COUNCIL OF JERUSALEM

Objectives:

  1. Who was there?
  2. Where did the first council meet?
  3. What did they decide?

Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer.
  2. Read the story below:

Not long after Peter and Paul began to tell the Gentiles about Jesus, many

Gentiles became Christians. But, the Jewish Christians were upset. The Gentiles did not obey the laws of Moses; they had never known the Old Testament Scriptures. And they were not circumcised, as God had commanded Abraham for the Jewish people. Many of the Jewish Christians tried to tell the Gentiles that they had to become Jews first in order to be Christians.

            Saul, now called Paul, and Peter went to Jerusalem, the holy city of the Jewish people. There they told the other James, the bishop of Jerusalem, and the apostles and elders of the church about their visions (Remember Peter’s? Remember Paul’s?) and about the love the Gentile believers had for Jesus. Peter told how God had sent the Holy Spirit to Cornelius and his family, just as He had to the Jewish believers. Finally James spoke: The Gentiles would not have to become Jews, but only not eat from meat sacrificed to idols. All the elders agreed that this was fair and right and James wrote a letter to all the churches about this important decision and sent it with Judas (a Jewish believer) and Silas (a Gentile).

 

  1. Enjoy Jewish culture a bit: Talk about Hanukkah – dreidls and potato latkes – and Passover. Remember the story of Moses and God’s people escaping from Egypt. Show a picture from a library book of a Jewish wedding with the canopy. Look at pictures of synagogues and Jewish people in prayer shawls. Many of these customs are like ours but many are not. Talk a little about our customs and holidays. It’s fun to learn about other people’s customs, but how would you like to be told you had to dress and eat and celebrate exactly like your Jewish friends?

  1. The earliest non-Jewish believers were mostly Greeks. Take a look at the Greek alphabet. If you take the first letters of the words, “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior,” in Greek and put them together, you get the Greek word for “fish”. For this reason, early Christians often identified themselves to each other with a simple drawing of a fish. Have the children practice drawing fish on paper or in a sandbox.

 

5.   Make Peanut People FingerPuppets: Break peanuts in half  for each puppet. For this story, try Peter, Paul, James, Silas, and Judas. Draw on faces and add cloth or paper headcoverings, yarn hair and beards, etc. Practice telling the story with the finger puppets. Someone allergic to peanuts? No problem! Just take small strips of paper or cardstock, roll into cylinders, and decorate in the same way for finger puppets.

 

6. Close with prayer: Lord, help us to make decisions fairly and wisely every day.