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Drama, Puppets, Storytelling Lessons, ideas, and resources for teaching the stories of Peter and Cornelius, Peter's Rooftop Vision, Acts 10

Post your Sunday School Drama, Puppets, Storytelling lessons, ideas, activities, and resources for the stories of Peter and Cornelius, Peter's Rooftop Vision here.

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Cornelius Calls for Peter, Cornelius' Vision, Peter and Cornelius, Peter's Vision, Peter's Rooftop Vision, Peter at Cornelius’s House, Acts 10, Acts 11:1-18 Peter Explains his Actions.




Peter's Vision of Animals, Peter & Cornelius

Drama Idea


We began the class by reviewing what they knew about the story. We used the "Peter's Vision" worksheet #255 from Calvary's Church website (which has now changed) as a "quiz" and introduction to the story for those new to it.

Then we dropped in to Acts 10 and read only the part about Peter's vision.
I then digressed for a few minutes to talk about "kosher laws." My document on this is found in the Cooking Workshop forum. We discussed rules WE follow in the kitchen today, such as with raw chicken, proper cooking of food.

We re-enacted Acts 10, the entire chapter, by walking through it as it was read aloud. There are plenty of "quotes" for the characters to repeat when they hear the narrator read them aloud. The "blanket of animals" vision is a good prop to spend time doing and discussing. The kids enjoyed tossing some stuffed animals onto the blanket.

Characters: Peter, Peter's entourage, Cornelius, Cornelius' messengers, the Angel who appears to Cornelius, the Holy Spirit who speaks to Peter. The family of Cornelius who are baptized.

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Last edited by Luanne Payne
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Peter’s Rooftop Vision

Drama Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:

In this workshop, the learners will act out each of the three scenes of the story to learn it.

Scripture Reference:

Acts 10:1-11:18

Memory Verse:
Acts 10:35:
“ . . . in every nation anyone who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to God.”

Concept for Kids:
In Peter's day, the Jews believe that the Messiah was only for the Jews, not for the Gentiles (non Jews).  To remind themselves to KEEP themselves separate, the Jews chose not to eat certain foods, like pork. When the Spirit shows Peter a vision of a blanket full of all kinds of food, Peter knew that the message of Jesus was for all, Jews and Gentiles. This was a HUGE shift for the disciples.

Children will understand the concept of the "IN" crowd, or the popular people. They will be able to talk about what groups are looked down on, or excluded, or put down.

What makes someone a Christian?

  • The particular church they go to?
  • The color of their skin?
  • How good they are?

When new Christians join our church, do they have to agree with us about everything, and do whatever we say?

Does our church restrict people from joining? Taking Communion?

How do we welcome people who are DIFFERENT than us to our church? to our class?

How can you reach out with Jesus' love to people who are different than you?  ...to people who are being persecuted for being different?

(This additional question content was added by Wormy)


Supplies:

  • The Children’s Bible;
  • props for each of the 3 scenes in the story (see Teacher Preparation below); some Biblical costumes or togas;
  • name tags of characters in the story—Peter, Simon, Cornelius, 2 messengers, family members of Cornelius, disciples, 2-4 vision helpers, narrator (nametags with string to hang around the neck work well);
  • poster board with the memory verse on it.


Teacher preparation:

  • Read the Bible passages.
  • The story will be read from The Children’s Bible, so you might want to preview this, too.
  • Read over the background material included in your teacher packet as you review the lesson plan.
  • Set up, or see that CE has set up, the three scenes in the following way:
    Scene 1: Home of Simon, the tanner.
    Props: a workbench, a pair of leather sandals, other leather items, a few simple tools, a flat sheet filled with various kinds of stuffed toy animals (some unusual animals would be good here) and folded up so the animals are hidden; nametags for Simon, Peter, vision helpers (2-4), and 2 messengers.
    Scene 2: Home of Cornelius, the centurion.
    Props: some chairs, Roman helmet, other items fitting Roman soldiers; nametags for Peter, Cornelius, family members of Cornelius.
    Scene 3: Council room in Jerusalem.
    Props: pillows, blankets; nametags for Peter and disciples.


Lesson Plan


Opening:

Greet the children and introduce yourself.

Open with a prayer.

Dig:

Read the story from The Children’s Bible, pp. 393-394 (stories #347 and #348.) Since the memory verse is from the NRSV Bible and not The Children’s Bible, use the poster board with the verse on it and go over it with the children, explaining that the term “fear” here means respect, reverence, or awe, not being afraid.

Ask the children to recall the 3 different scenes in the story. They are the home of Simon the tanner, where Peter had his vision; the home of Cornelius, the centurion; and the council room in Jerusalem. Point out that you have set up those three scenes in different parts of the drama room. See if the class can identify the 3 scenes.

Tell the class that they will act out the story taking place in each of the scenes. Let each child choose a toga to wear during the play. Assign, or let the children choose, characters they will portray and give them the nametags for the following: Simon, Peter, two messengers, Cornelius, family members of Cornelius (any number), disciples (any number), narrator.

Have the children pantomime the stories in each of the 3 scenes as you, the shepherd, or a narrator reads the story from the attached script. If you have time and the children want to, feel free to exchange parts and go through the scenes again.

Reflection:

Gather the children together and discuss the aspect of the story dealing with challenging authority. Ask:

  • How did the characters in each scene challenge their previous laws and/or authority?
    (Peter stayed with Simon, who was considered unclean; Peter’s vision insisted he eat unclean animals; Cornelius converted from Roman religion to the Christian religion; Peter associated and even baptized Romans; Peter challenged Jewish officials to accept everyone.)
  • Did anyone get violent during these “protests?” (No; Peter worked within the system of laws to change ideas.)
  • Why did they do this? (To change people’s thoughts about the injustice of excluding others and introduce God’s inclusion of all.)
  • Can you name a more modern-day instance of peaceful protests to battle injustice in our world? (Example: Martin Luther King and his peaceful marches. There may be others named, too.)


Close with a prayer of your own, or use the following:
God of the spirit, thank you for all the different kinds of people in the world. Help us to be strong in fighting injustice wherever we encounter it. Amen.

Journal Time:
Help the shepherd pass out the journals. Ask the children to answer the following question:
Which character did you play in the drama class today?


A lesson written by Jan Marshall
Brenthaven Cumberland Presbyterian Brentwood, TN

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.




Script for Our Acts drama for “Peter’s Vision”

Scene 1—Home of Simon, the tanner

Simon and Peter are sitting on the workbench talking. The narrator reads, while the actors pantomime:
In the Joppa home of Simon the tanner, Peter has stopped off on his travels to rest. Simon is telling Peter how honored he is for someone from the Jewish community in Jerusalem to stay with him because his work of tanning hides of animals makes him unclean in the eyes of the Jewish community, and they shun him. Peter, however, remembered Jesus’ teaching that God did not think of anyone as unclean because of what they touched, but looked at their hearts instead. So Peter was willing to stay with Simon on his journey.
Peter was tired, so he went up to Simon’s roof to rest and pray before dinner. While there, he lay down and fell asleep. While he was sleeping, he had a vision. He saw a huge sheet being lowered by its four corners. On the sheet were animals, snakes, and birds of all kinds. Every one of them was a creature that Jews were forbidden by law to eat. God then spoke to Peter saying, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”
Peter protested and said he never broke the Jewish dietary laws by eating unclean animals. But God said, “What God calls clean, you must not call unclean.” This happened 2 more times!
Then there was a knock at Simon’s door. Peter came down as Simon opened the door to 2 men, both Romans. They told Peter to come with them to a town called Caesarea to see an official there named Cornelius. It seemed that Cornelius had a vision, too. He was to send for Peter to hear more about Jesus. So Peter went with the messengers.

Scene 2—Home of Cornelius, the centurion

In Cornelius’ home, a room full of people were sitting and listening to Peter. The narrator reads while the actors pantomime:
Peter and the 2 messengers had arrived at Cornelius’ home to find members of Cornelius’ family and his household waiting to hear him preach. So he did. He began to tell them the story of Jesus and they believed him. While he was talking the Holy Spirit came upon them and they were filled with joy. So Peter gladly baptized them, even though they were Gentiles.

Scene 3—Council room in Jerusalem

In the council room, disciples of Jesus, including Peter, are sitting around the room. The narrator reads while the actors pantomime:
Peter is talking to all the disciples and tells them about his vision and his travels. They questioned his decision to visit and eat with Gentiles, but he explained that his vision told him that God loved all people and they were not unclean. He also told them that the Holy Spirit came upon Cornelius’ household and since God sent the same spirit to the Gentiles that God had sent when Jesus left them, then who were they to question and hinder God? The disciples were silent for a few minutes, then they began to understand and praise God for this abounding love that included both Jews and Gentiles.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Adventures with Peter: A New Vision

Drama Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Children will act out the story.  Photographs will be taken of each scene to add to the Adventure with Peter Photo Storybook begun last month.

This was part of a summer series on Peter. In previous rotations we studied Peter's denial, his restoration by Jesus, the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and Peter's healing of a lame man at the Temple gate. In this rotation we continued our study of Peter's transformation with the story of Peter's vision and his meeting with the Roman Centurion, Cornelius.

Scripture References:

Acts 10  (page 363-364 Little Kids' Adventure Bible)

“The Story of Cornelius” (page 374-376 Little Kids’ Adventure Bible)

"God, A Roman and a Jew," The Picture Bible  (pages 708-710)

Memory Verse:
Acts 10:34

Bible Background is found in the Bible Background forum.

Theme:
God's love and salvation is for everyone!  God pours out the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles!       

Objectives and Life Application:

  • Children will locate the story in the Bible.
  • Children will define Acts as a New Testament book of history.
  • Children will retell the story in their own words.
  • Children will discuss Jewish dietary laws and the implication for the early church.
  • Children will identify Pentecost as the day God's gift of the Holy Spirit came to the Jewish believers.
  • Children will identify Cornelius as a Gentile and a Roman centurion.
  • Children will define:  Gentile, centurion.
  • Children will locate Joppa, Jerusalem and Caesarea on the map.
  • Children will understand that God desires everyone to be saved.
  • Children will understand that salvation comes through belief and trust in Jesus Christ.
  • Children will memorize Acts 10:34.

Advanced Preparations/Room Set Up:  

  • Review background information and lesson.
  • Gather necessary props for each scene (see suggestions in lesson below).
  • Copy the script for the older age group.
  • Make signs for each scene.


Supplies:

  • Props and costumes for the scenes below.
  • Digital Camera
  • Copy of script (for older age group -- teacher will serve as narrator for younger age group)
  • Signs for each scene -- see below
  • Large white sheet
  • Variety of stuffed animals, including animals considered unclean (pig, camel, snake, crab, insects, rabbit, eagle, frog)

Important Note for Drama Workshop Leaders:

  • You may wish to organize costumes or puppets ahead of time to cut down on a flurry of activity and possible hurt feelings.  Have props ready ahead of time.  This is especially important for the younger children.  The older children often are very creative with props and costumes.
  • You will want to limit the amount of time the children are allowed to dress-up.  (They can easily spend the entire class time selecting costumes!)
  • Be sure that all children are involved in some way. Some children are intimidated by the prospect of being on a stage.  Offer them alternative roles as well as the children who do not have main parts.  They can always be “sound effects” or “crowds” or stagehands to help change scenery, or video camera operators (for the older children). Remember as well that children can draw the backdrop for the drama on the blackboard or videotape the plays (older children).
  • To eliminate competition, you may wish to place the names of characters in a hat and have children choose their parts.
  • Be sure to explain the activity to the children and ask for questions.
  • Even though videotaping the activities may seem unnecessary, videotaping seems to encourage better behavior from the children.
  • Have fun and make this fun for the children!
  • The purpose of the drama workshop is not to create a polished performance.  Through the activity, children will explore the story in depth.  Feel free to pause and discuss details as they arise, add more information (using the Background information and resources) and answer questions along the way.
  • Have children draw a large flat-roofed house on the chalkboard.


Lesson Plan


Opening:

Welcome the children and take time for introductions. Tell the children that today you will be learning about another of Peter's adventures -- when he learned to be friends with people who were different.

Opening Prayer
“Dear God, Thank you for this day and for the amazing stories in the Bible that teach us about you. AMEN.”

Important Teacher Notes:

Each workshop includes the Bible story.  One of our primary goals is to improve the children’s Bible literacy! If children did not bring their Bibles from home, use the classroom Bibles. Shepherds should help the children locate the stories. Use the handout “Helping Children Learn to Use their Bibles” and the Background Information to help you introduce the story.

Remember that as the rotation progresses; the children will become more familiar with the story.  When this happens, allow the children to tell you what they know.  The children should still locate the story in their Bibles every week. Use the bold headings in their Bibles to guide your discussion.  You may want to review some of the Bible notes as well. Be sure to fill in any missing information and add additional details using the Background Information to help you.  One of the greatest advantages of this model is that children who come regularly learn the story in great depth.

Each lesson contains more Background Information and discussion questions than can be used in one session.  Remember, children are studying this story for four weeks!  Be sure to follow the time guidelines and leave ample time for the activity.



Dig:

Last month we learned that on a special day called Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came to Peter and his friends.  What do you remember about the story?  (Holy Spirit came like flames of fire and the sound of rushing wind; they spoke in other languages, but could be understood; Peter preached a bold sermon and 3000 people believed in Jesus; Peter was filled with power and courage and even healed a man who could not walk.

This month we are going to learn that the Holy Spirit was not just for the Jewish believers. God had a bigger plan! The Holy Spirit was also for the Gentiles -- the people who were not Jews. This was a very different idea that was not at all what Peter expected.  Let's learn more about it.

Bible Study - Grades 1-3
Ask:  Where in the Bible would we find a story about Peter and the early church?  (Acts, New Testament)

Pass out The Picture Bible to each pair of children.  Help them locate page 708.  Read "God, A Roman and a Jew," on pages 708-710 as the children follow along.  (The Picture Bible is written in comic book form.  The pictures should help the children visualize the story.)

Next help the find "The Story of Cornelius" on page 374-376 of the Little Kids' Adventure Bible.  Paraphrase

the story, noting the blue sub-titles.

Bible Study - Grades 4-6
Ask:  Where in the Bible would we find a story about Peter and the early church?  (Acts, New Testament)

Today’s story is found in the book of Acts.  Acts is the only book of history in the New Testament.

Have the children locate Acts 10 in their Bibles.  Assign volunteers to read the following as the other children follow along in their Bibles:

  • Cornelius Calls for Peter Acts 10:1-8
  • Peter's Vision Acts 10:9-16
  • Acts 10:17-23
  • Peter at Cornelius's House Acts 10:24-29
  • Acts 10:30-33
  • Acts 10:34-43
  • Acts 10:44-48

Review the following Bible note with the children:

Did you Know?  “Why did God send Peter a vision?"  (page 1211)

Discussion:

  • Why was Peter surprised that God told him to kill and eat the animals in his vision?  (because Jewish food laws forbid eating certain foods)
  • Why did God give Peter this strange vision?  (to show him that he loved everyone and that the gospel message was for the Gentiles as well as the Jews -- explain meaning of Gentile)
  • What is a centurion?  (a Roman soldier in charge of at least 100 men)
  • What happened when Peter went to visit Cornelius?  (he told him about Jesus and the Holy Spirit filled Cornelius and his family)
  • What did Peter do to Cornelius and his family?  (baptized them)
  • What happened later when Peter returned to his Jewish friends?  (they were upset to hear that Peter had stayed with a Gentile)
  • How did Peter and Cornelius both do a brave thing?  (it is hard to be with people who are different, Peter might have been afraid of a Roman soldier, Romans might have made fun of Cornelius for believing in God)
  • What do you think it was like for Peter to adjust his thinking in this way?
  • What did Peter learn about God from this experience?

Memory Verse
Review the verse with the children at this time.  

"I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism."  Acts 10:34

  • What does it mean to show favoritism?
  • What does it mean that God does not show favoritism?
  • What was the lesson Peter learned from his vision?  (God's plan is for everyone -- not just the Jewish people)

*Note if the topic of circumcision comes up -- explain that this is something Jewish people did to set themselves apart from other people.

Drama - A New Vision!

Characters:

Narrator, Peter, Cornelius, messengers, Cornelius' family members, angel, voice of God, four people to lower the sheet to the stage, sign holders for photos.

Directions:

  1. Quickly assign parts and get into costume.
  2. Children who may not wish to have speaking parts can move props and hold signs.
  3. Read through the script pausing to allow children to act it out. The script follows the text of Acts 10 very closely. Plan to pause for discussion or to answer questions. The goal is deeper understanding of the story, not a polished performance.
  4. At the end of each scene, pause and take a still photograph that includes the Scene Sign for the Adventures with Peter storybook.

Option for Younger Children:

Narrate the entire script allowing the children to act out in between the narration. Encourage them to repeat some of the shorter lines in the script.

Reflection:

The last 10 minutes should be reserved for Journal and Reflection time. This is an opportunity for processing and reflection about what the children have learned.  

Journal Questions:
Grades 1-3:   Draw a picture of Peter with Cornelius.

Grades 4-6:   What did you learn about God from this story?

Closing Prayer
Encourage the children to come back next week for another workshop, and to invite their friends.   Remind the children of one word or concept from today’s session.  Holy Spirit, Christian, Gentile, centurion are some possibilities.  Ask for prayer requests and pray together.

Clean-up
Help Shepherd collect Journals and nametags and put away.  Gather all the props and costumes and put them away.  


Script:  A New Vision!

Scene 1:  An Angel Visits Cornelius

Narrator:  Now in the city of Caesarea, there lived a Roman centurion called Cornelius. Even though he was a Gentile, he believed in the one, true God instead of many false gods.  He was a kind man and gave generously to the poor.  He was well-liked and respected by the Jews in that city.

One day as Cornelius was praying, he had an amazing vision! An angel appeared before him!

Cornelius:  (kneels and prays)

Angel: “Cornelius!”

Cornelius: (acts frightened) “What is it, Lord?”

Angel: I have seen your prayers and gifts for the poor. You are a good and faithful man. Now send men to the city of Joppa. Tell them to bring back a man named Simon Peter. He is staying with Simon the tanner, in a house by the sea.

Cornelius:  (beckons two servants to come to him)

You two, go with my soldier to Joppa and find a man named Simon, called Peter, who is staying at the house of Simon the tanner, near the sea. God has sent an angel to tell me to send for this man who will give me a message from the true and living God.

(Messengers depart)

Scene 2:  Peter has a Vision

Narrator: Meanwhile, in Joppa Peter is waiting for lunch to be finished.

Peter:  Oh, I’m hungry; I can hardly wait for lunch. I think I’ll pray up here on the roof for a little while.

(He kneels down to pray on the rooftop.)

Narrator:  Now rooftops in Bible times were flat with outside stairways, so it was a good, quiet and private place to pray.  As Peter is praying, his eyes open, and he sees a sheet lowered by its four corners from heaven. The sheet contains all kind of animals that Jewish people are forbidden to eat, such as: clams and lobsters, pigs, rabbits, badgers, eagles or other birds of prey, snakes, spiders, lizards, and frogs. The voice of God speaks to Peter telling him to, "Get up, kill and eat."

Voice of God:  Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.

Peter:  Surely not, Lord! I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.  It's against your law!

Voice of God:  Peter, do not call anything impure that God has made clean.

Narrator:  Three times this is repeated!  And then as suddenly as it came, the sheet full of animals leaves. Peter is very confused.  He wonders what this vision could possibly mean.

Peter:  Wow…. That was very strange…. I wonder what this could possibly mean….

Narrator:  While Peter pondered his strange vision, he heard the voice of God speak to him again.

Voice of God:  Peter, three men are looking for you.  Go downstairs and talk with them.  Don't be afraid to go with them because I have sent them here to find you.

Peter: (gets up and goes to greet the men at the door)

I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?

Messenger: We have come from Cornelius, a centurion who lives in Caesarea. He is a righteous man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. An angel told him to bring you to his house so he could hear what you have to say.

Narrator:  Now it was obvious that these messengers were not Jewish -- they were Gentiles.  Peter was not supposed to talk or associate with Gentiles -- it was against Jewish law.  But instead, Peter invited the men to come in and stay the night because it was too late to travel that day.

Peter:  Please come in. You can rest here for the night, and we can leave in the morning.

Scene 3:  Peter visits Cornelius' House

Narrator: The next day Peter and the messengers began the long trip to Caesarea.  Peter must have wondered what would happen when he arrived at Cornelius' house.  Romans were not known for being friends to Jews.  Was it a trap?  Would Peter be arrested….or worse?  The next day, they finally arrived at Cornelius' house.  Cornelius had invited his family and close friends to be there to meet with Peter.  Cornelius ran out to greet Peter and knelt down in front of him.

(Cornelius kneels before Peter)

Peter:  Please don't bow down to me.  I am just a man, like you.

Narrator:  Peter entered the house and saw all the people gathered there.  He really wasn't sure exactly why he was here. He knew that as a Jew he shouldn't be here - in the house of a Gentile.  It just wasn't done.  Peter wasn't sure what to say, but finally he began….

Peter:  You know that it is against our law for a Jew to be friends with a Gentile or visit in his house.  But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.  So, when your messengers came for me, I came with them.  Why did you send for me?

Narrator:  Cornelius answered Peter, explaining all about his vision and how the angel had told him to send messengers to Joppa and bring Peter back to his house.

Cornelius:  And so I sent for you immediately.  Then I gathered all my friends and family here so that we can listen to what the Lord has commanded you to tell us.

Narrator:  It was all beginning to make sense to Peter… his strange vision of unclean animals that God was now calling clean, Gentile messengers to Joppa and now Peter…. right here inside a Gentile's house -- a Roman Centurion to boot!

Peter:  I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism.  He accepts people from every nation who love him and want to do what is right.

Narrator:  And Peter continued.  He told Cornelius and his friends and family all about Jesus who was sent by God. He told them that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness from sin.

Narrator:  And while Peter was still speaking the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.  The Gentiles were filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in different languages and praising God.  Peter and his Jewish friends were astonished!  This was the same thing that had happened at Pentecost to the Jewish believers!  It was clear to them that the Holy Spirit was with the Gentiles, too!  How could this be?  They had always believed that God DID play favorites -- and that God was for the Jews only…. Not the Gentiles!  And certainly not a Roman soldier!

It was a difficult thing for Peter to understand, but the evidence was right there in front of him.  AND he had heard the voice of God explaining it.  AND he was filled with the Holy Spirit who teaches us about the things of God.

Peter:  It is clear that these people have received the Holy Spirit, just as we have!  Can anyone keep them from being baptized?

Narrator:  And because it was obvious that the Gentiles had also received the Holy Spirit, Peter ordered that Cornelius and his family and friends be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

Then Cornelius asked Peter and his friends to stay with him and to tell them more about Jesus.  And so they did.

Scene 4 - Peter in Jerusalem

Narrator:  Word spread quickly about what Peter had done -- staying with Gentiles, eating with them and even baptizing them!  How could this be?  Peter was a good Jew who knew the importance of their rules.  And so when Peter was in Jerusalem next, they met with him to ask him about the rumors they had heard.

Apostles:  What is this we hear about you visiting Gentiles and eating with them?

Peter:  It's true.  I did that, but it is not as you think.

Narrator:  And so Peter explained everything to the other apostles…. About his vision and Cornelius' vision and God's voice telling him to eat the unclean animals and then the most amazing part of all…. How the Holy Spirit came upon all the Gentiles in that room, just as had happened to them at Pentecost.

Peter:  So, if God gave the Gentiles the same gift as us, who am I to think that I could oppose God?

Narrator:  After hearing Peter's story, the apostles were amazed as well.  They had no further objections and they praised God, saying….

Apostles:  So… God has given eternal life to the Gentiles, too!  It's true!  God loves everyone and wants everyone to be saved!  Praise God!

The End…. For now!



A lesson written by Jaymie Derden from:
State Street UMC – G.R.E.A.T. Adventure
Bristol, VA

This lesson created and copyrighted by State Street UMC, Bristol, VA, 2009. Permission granted for non-commercial, local church use, provided credit is give to the source.

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Peter and Cornelius

Moved by the Spirit (Drama)


Summary of Lesson Activities:

Children will act out Acts 10:1-11:18 either by using the attached script or pantomiming actions to a reading of scripture.

Bible Background:

is found in the Bible Background forum.

Lesson Objectives:

  1. Children can recall the events of Peter and Cornelius’s story.
  2. Children can remember what “God’s voice” says in the script, or the memory verse.
  3. Children can find the story of Peter and Cornelius in their Bible.

Supplies Needed:

  • Copies of scripts (if using) and Bibles Copies of “And Then” handout
  • Biblical costumes (scissors and glue if using handout Bibles in class)
  • Sheet
  • Animal costumes or body sox (optional)

Advance Preparation:

  • Read the biblical background notes and answer the questions raised in the “themes” section to figure out what this story means to you.
  • Read through the lesson and decide how best to manage your time.
  • You should be familiar with the scripture and with the script.
  • For younger ages, pre-tape the dialogue so that all they have to do is pantomime.


Lesson Plan


Opening:

If it is not the first week, or if you have students who have a lot of Biblical background, ask them if they can:
Define “centurion”
Explain the differences between a Jew and a Gentile
Name three or more foods that Jews considered “unclean” or not kosher.
Otherwise, explain these concepts to them so they can understand the context of the story. Another word that might require definition is circumcision. There is no need to get into graphic details – just explain that it was something Jews did to set themselves apart.

Dig:

Act out the drama two times to give children the opportunity to have different roles. Coach them through words, phrases, and ideas to help them understand the story.

Work on staging. Think about what actions each child can do to give life to their role.

Life Application
Work on Bible literacy. Help the children find the story of Peter and Cornelius in the Bible. If you are working with younger children, just have them put their finger on the “10” where the story begins. Then ask them to retell the story of Peter and Cornelius to you. If they get stuck, say “let’s see what the Bible says. Then locate the verse together and read it to them.

Older children will be using their Bibles to answer the following questions:

The idea of these questions is not so much to test the children’s memory of the story, but to encourage them to find the Bible verse where the answer occurs. After an answer is given and the Bible verse named, the whole group should look at that verse and read it together. You do not need to ask every question, but don’t jump back and forth. The idea is that the children will be skimming through the story as they look for the answers.

  • What was the name of the centurion? (Acts 10:1)
  • What kind of person was Cornelius? (10:2)
  • Why did he send his servants for Peter? (10:4-6)
  • When did Cornelius’ servants arrive in Joppa? (10:9)
  • Where was Peter praying? (10:9, also 10:6)
  • What was Peter waiting for when he had his vision? (10:10)
  • How was the sheet lowered to the ground (10:11)
  • What three types of animals appear in the vision? (10:12)
  • What did Peter say to God when he saw the animals? (10:14)
  • What happened to the cloth after it appeared the third time? (10:16)
  • From where did Cornelius’ servants call for Peter? (10:17)
  • Where did the servants sleep that night? (10:23)
  • Who went with Peter to Caesarea? (10:23)
  • When did Peter go see Cornelius? (10:23-24)
  • Who was at Cornelius’ house? (10:24)
  • What did Cornelius do when Peter arrived? (10:25)
  • What was the first thing Peter said to Cornelius? (10:26)
  • Why did the angel appear to Cornelius? (10:31, also 10:4)
  • Why were all the people gathered in Cornelius’ home? (10:33)
  • In 10:38-42 what events of Jesus’ life does Peter remember?
  • What happened while Peter was still speaking? (10:44)
  • Why were the circumcised believers amazed? (10:45)
  • What did Cornelius and the gentiles do that showed they had the Holy Spirit? (10:46)
  • What did Peter do when he realized they had the Holy Spirit? (10:47-48)
  • Who criticized Peter? (11:1-2)
  • According to Peter’s story, how many believers went with him? (11:12)
  • What words of Jesus did Peter remind the apostles/believers of? (11:16)
  • What did the apostles/believers do/say after Peter’s story? (11:18)

Do you believe? Have you ever stepped forward like Cornelius to claim Jesus?

Reflection:

As you work through these questions, if you find the children are becoming restless, move on to the journaling activity or run through the play again. The purpose is to improve the children’s Bible skills, not torture them with long periods of sitting still.

Journaling:
Invite the children to think of one particular scene in this story that they particularly like. Tell them to imagine that they are one of the people in the story. It could be a main character, or it could be someone unnamed. Imagine what that person sees, hears, thinks, feels, as that scene unfolds. If they wish, they could turn that into a short play.

For younger children, encourage them to draw a scene through the eyes of one of the characters.

Adjustments for age levels and abilities
For younger children, pre-tape the drama and use puppets.
If you don’t have good readers, have your shepherd or yourself read Peter’s part.



A lesson written by Lisa Martin from: Trinity UCC
Pottstown, PA

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.


Peter and Cornelius
Drama Script

Cast:

Peter
Apostle
Past Peter
God’s voice

Unclean animals (pig, eagle, snake, camel)
Servant
Cornelius’ servants
Cornelius

Notes:

The story begins with Acts 11 and “flashes back” to Acts 10. Scenes 1 and 5 should take place slightly off to the side, to allow for the main action in scenes 2-4.

There are seven speaking roles. Additional children act out the role of an unclean animal. (Be sure they understand that they must be an animal that Jews were forbidden to eat, not just any animal they want to be.) You can also encourage other children to participate by having them turn lights off and on between scenes.

For younger readers, have an adult teacher/shepherd take on the role of Peter – who does most of the speaking.

For non-readers, tape the story ahead of time, making sure that the different people have very different sounding voices. For example, Cornelius and his servants could have an Italian accent. Peter and Past Peter can be done with the same voice. The children can then pantomime the play or use puppets

If you like, you can use the script the first time and ad lib a second time through.

Script
------------
Scene 1: The Church in Jerusalem

Apostle: Simon Peter, it is good to see you. You have been gone a long time.

Peter: Too long, Thaddeus, too long. How are things going in Jerusalem?

Apostle: Very well Peter. (pause) But I have heard some things that have disturbed us greatly, Peter, and I need to talk to you about them.

Peter: Oh?

Apostle: I have heard that you have been going to the home of pagans, people who do not follow God’s law, and that you have been eating with them. I have known you a long time, Peter. I know that you are a faithful Jew, and that you would never do anything to go against God’s will.

Peter: What you say is partially true, Thaddeus. I have been going to the homes of pagans, more specifically, to the house of a man named Cornelius. And I have eaten with him.

Apostle: No! Peter! How could you?

Peter: But I was not going against God’s will.

Apostle: What do you mean? The torah – the law of Moses - tells us what we can eat and what is forbidden. You are going against the torah. That means you are going against God’s will!

Peter: Let me explain what happened.

-----------
Scene 2: A rooftop in Joppa

Peter: (narrating while Past Peter acts out the story) I was hungry, and I went up on the rooftop to pray while the meal was prepared and behold, I had a vision.

Unclean animals: (Bring out the cloth and lay it down on the ground as Peter continues speaking)

Peter: (narrating while Past Peter acts out the story) A sheet came down and on it were all kinds of animals that I was forbidden to eat.
Unclean animals: (oink, make other appropriate animal noises)

God’s Voice: Get up, Peter, kill and eat.

Past Peter: No way, God. I’ve never in my life eaten anything that went against your Torah, God. I have never eaten anything profane or unclean.

God’s Voice: What God has made clean, you must not call profane.

Unclean Animals: (pick up sheet and exit)

Peter: (narrating while Past Peter continues to pray) This happened three times. I couldn’t imagine what it could mean.

Past Peter: I can’t imagine what this could mean!

Servant: Simon Peter

Past Peter: (getting up) Yes, O is dinner finally ready? I’m famished.

Servant: Um, not yet, sir, but there is someone here to see you.

Past Peter: To see me?

God’s Voice: What God has made clean, you must not call profane.

Past Peter: (to Servant) Did you hear that?

Servant: (shakes head, no)
(they exit together)

----------
Scene 3: A Caesarea home, street level

Cornelius’ Servant: Are you Simon Peter?

Past Peter: I am. You are (hesitating) a gentile, are you not?

C’s Servant: Yes. I work for Cornelius. He’s a soldier for the Roman army.

Past Peter: Cornelius? The Roman army? Am, am I in some sort of trouble?

C’s Servant: Cornelius is a centurion, but a good and upstanding man, who is well thought of by all the Jews in Caesarea. He heard an angel telling him to bring you to his house.

Past Peter: Sure. We’ll leave first thing in the morning. I wonder what this means?

God’s Voice: What God has made clean, you must not call profane.

Past Peter: (to C. Servant) Did you hear that?

C’s servant: (shakes head, no)
(they exit together)

----------------
Scene 4: Cornelius’ house

Peter: (narrating) I went the next day to Cornelius’ home. As I entered he fell at my feet.

Cornelius: (on his knees at Peter’s feet) Simon Peter! Praise God that you saw fit to come see a man like me!

Past Peter: Get up! I’m just a human being like you.

Cornelius: But you are so good. You are a disciple of Jesus. You are a good and faithful apostle.

Past Peter: You know, if you had asked me yesterday, I would have said I was better than you, but I had a vision yesterday and I heard God’s voice.

God’s voice: What God has made clean, you must not call profane.

Past Peter: You may not have followed our torah all your life, Cornelius, but God has looked in your heart, and God approves of you. And God does not want me to put down anyone that God sees as acceptable.

Cornelius: Thank you, Peter.

Peter: (narrating) I began telling them about Jesus. As I talked, I could see that the Holy Spirit rested on Cornelius and his friends. I asked anyone if they could imagine a reason why someone who has already received the Holy Spirit should not also receive baptism. No one could answer. (Past Peter and Cornelius pantomime a baptism) So I ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

----------------
Scene 5: Jerusalem Church

Peter: After that, I stayed with Cornelius for several days. You see, Thaddeus, God doesn’t want the message of Jesus to be only for the Jews, but for all people.

Apostle: I don’t know, Peter

Peter: Thaddeus, If God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stop God?

Apostle: (silence for a moment) Yes, I suppose.

God’s voice: What God has made clean, you must not call profane.

Apostle: Wow! God has given eternal life, even to the Gentiles!

Last edited by Luanne Payne

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