ACTS OF THE APOSTLES
Chapter 1:19-30 & chapter 12
Peter Arrested and Released
Events of Chapter 11:19-30: persecution caused the believers to be scattered (Acts 8:4). Wherever they went they took the message of Jesus. At first only the Jews heard the message. Then the Grecian Jews did. A church was established in Antioch. It was there the disciples were first called Christians. In V. 27 we meet the Prophet Agabus. He predicted a dearth (no rain) throughout all the world. The believers in Antioch were impressed to send relief to the believers in Judea. Barabas and Saul would take this help to them.
CHAPTER 12: Vs. 1-4, Herod the king, desiring to please the Jews who, of course, were against Jesus and His followers, put James the brother of John to death. He put Peter in prison, planning to kill him right after Passover. They kept Peter closely guarded with sixteen soldiers, likely taking turns, four at a time.
V. 5: Notice the word “BUT.” Jesus had taught the disciples to pray. The Lord was looking after Peter. No wonder they were gathered together. It was much needed.
Vs. 6-10: Just the night before Peter was to be killed, a wonderful thing took place. Peter was asleep, but the Lord wasn’t. He knew Peter was in danger. It must be that Peter was at peace about it all, since he could sleep under those conditions. The angel of the Lord came upon him; light shined in the prison; and the angel smote Peter on the side. The angel raised him up and told him to arise up quickly. Right then the chains fell off his hands. The angel told him to gird himself, put on his sandals, put his garment upon him, and follow the angel. Peter did all that, but didn’t really know what was taking place. He thought he was having a vision. Still he followed and they came to the first ward, then the second, and right to the iron gate. It opened right up. Out they went. Then the angel left him.
Vs. 11-17: Then Peter came to himself and knew what really had happened. He knew he had been delivered, from Herod, and from all the Jews mean thoughts and plans. Where do you suppose Peter went? He must have known where those prayer warriors were. Isn’t it good that when other believers are in trouble, we can pray, and they can be saved out of their trouble? Where he went was to Mary’s house. She was the mother of John Mark. We will learn more about him later.
Lots of folks were there praying for Peter. Of course they didn’t know he had been delivered from prison. Peter went and knocked on the door. A young girl named Rhoda came to the door. She knew Peter’s voice, but she was so glad she ran back in, without opening the door, and told the people that Peter was out there knocking. They couldn’t believe it could be Peter. They said the girl was out of her mind, and that it must be his angel (spirit). Peter didn’t give up; he kept right on knocking. Finally they opened the door and were really surprised. Are we ever that way when we pray? Are we ever taken off guard when we do receive the answer?
Peter told them all about the angel, and how he was brought out of prison. Peter told them to go and tell James and the brethren. Then he went into another place. Do you think the people praying might have been afraid to answer the door, thinking that they too, might be arrested?
Vs. 18-23: The soldiers couldn’t figure out what had happened to Peter. When Herod looked for him and couldn’t find him, the soldiers were put to death. It wasn’t their fault. Herod didn’t care. Worldly people don’t have the same feelings as Christians do. Herod didn’t get away with all of this. God didn’t allow him to do any more damage. Some foolish people tried to say, he was a god and not a man. Herod died.
Vs. 24-25: Barnabas and Saul had completed their work of taking relief to the people in Jerusalem. When they came back to Antioch, they brought John Mark back with them.
Does it pay to pray? Can we believe that the God of heaven hears us when we cry unto Him? All through the Bible we find that God’s people pray and are answered. Remember, that it is the people of God who have the right to come to Him in prayer. Unbelievers don’t. How can one who is not saved ever think they can say, “Our Father which art in heaven” – when God is not their Father? If you don’t know the Lord. You can ask Him right now to save you from you sins. Then you will have the right to come to Him when you or others have needs.
Continued next Issue