Acts Chapter Twelve (NIV)
Acts Chapter Twelve (NASB)
Verses 1-5: James, the brother of John, is put to death (the first of the Apostles to be martyred). Peter is imprisoned and is about to meet the same fate.
Verses 6-19: Peter is rescued by an angel.
Verses 20-25: Herod Agrippa I (grandson of Herod the Great) dies.
II. KEY PASSAGES
Acts 12:1-5--Persecution can be a way to win political favor. (This can happen even today. For instance, police in Dearborn target certain Christians in order to please Muslims. I've also seen some politicians speak out against Islam in what seems to be an attempt to win support from people who are concerned about Islam, though this hasn't yet reached the level of persecution. I'm fine with politicians speaking out against Islam, as they should. But we must be careful that this doesn't lead to persecution of any group.)
Acts 12:19--"When Herod had searched for him and had not found him, he examined the guards and ordered that they be led away to execution." Herod here adopts the Roman penalty, according to which a soldier who loses a prisoner would suffer the same fate that the prisoner was supposed to suffer. This shows that Herod was going to have Peter executed.
Acts 12:22-23--"The people kept crying out, 'The voice of a god and not of a man!' And immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died." This is an important passage for understanding Jesus' claims. As we saw earlier, Peter, Paul, Barnabas, and an angel all reject worship in the New Testament. Here Herod receives praise that is due to God alone, and he is struck down for not giving God the glory. Yet Jesus repeatedly accepted worship and made claims that only God can justly make. Thus, Jesus either stands condemned as a false prophet, or He is Lord of all.
"[The angel] struck Peter on the side and woke him up."
I can imagine this to become a comical scene in any film or skit. haha.
""Wrap your cloak around you and follow me," the angel told him. 9Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him. "
Me wonders if this was a supernatural moment where Peter was being transported through the spiritual realm/dimension, since the passage itself did not mention the guards fell asleep or became unconscious as Peter walked/ran out. It could be they were wide awake and very aware.... but not alert or paying attention to Peter's cell; hencce only found out he's missing the following morning.
Here in Acts 12, we again see something like a resurrection, as Peter - who is so close to death - is miraculously returned to the Family of God.
Luke may also be pre-figuring the "resurrection" of Paul and Silas, which to me again recounts the chain-breaking, bondage-loosing, transforming and resurrecting power of the Risen Christ of God.
"Father God, to you who have called your beloved servants from out of death, we offer our prayers that you will resurrect our defeated, apathetic hearts and our failing Churches."
"Sovereign Lord, we aren't worthy like your Saints of old, yet Father, in Jesus Name, we plead for your enabling mercy. And Lord, we ask that you call even more of our Muslim Sisters and Brothers from out of the death that has bound them and into the joyous, welcoming arms of the Family of God."
"Let your Mighty Love claim them, Lord Jesus, and reclaim us! Let us join together with them in heartfelt worship and adoration of the only Savior and God who can both free us and love us."
"Father, enable us, by your Grace, by your Power and in your Love to heal this broken and dying world - to be reconciled to Your Holy Self and to be made whole by the Blood of the Lamb of God."
"Now Lord, help us to be repentant and to be forgiven and to be busy about your work and working in your perfect way."
"In the precious Name of Jesus - AMEN!"
Kafir and very, VERY grateful.
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