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.