Peter’s Release from the Prison: Acts 12:1-19.
About that time king Herod Agrippa began to persecute the church. He was the nephew of Herod Antipas and a grandson of Herod the Great. Agrippa enjoyed unusual popularity among the Jews by persecuting the church. He killed James the brother of John. Having executed James, Herod plans to murder Peter also. Peter was arrested and put under heavy guard in the prison. The church earnestly prayed for Peter. This helped them to take their eyes off their helplessness. Their prayed fervently and specifically on Peter’s behalf. Someone has said, “Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saints on his knee”. When angel came to rescue Peter, he was sleeping. What was the secret of his sound sleep? Because the Lord had promised Peter that he would live to be an old me before his violent death (John 21:18-19). David wrote” I will lie down in peace and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe” (Psalms 4:8). Peter’s escape was an answer to the prayers of believers. We should never underestimate the power of prayer. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power (James 5:16). Peter came to the house of Mary the mother of John and knocked on the gate. A young girl named Rhoda, standing on guard to warn the praying disciples recognized Peter’s voice and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. The Disciples immediate response was one of unbelief. Peter continued knocking and when they saw him they were amazed. Peter explained to them how the Lord released him out of prison. And he instructed them to tell James and other brothers about his release. James is the half brother of Jesus. He was a leader in the church. Why Peter was released and James was allowed to die? The only answer is that it was the sovereign will of God (Acts 4:24-30). When King Agrippa came to know about the escape of Peter, he ordered that the guards should be killed. Then Herod left Judea for Caesarea. When we pray our Father in heaven is eager to answer our prayers. Pray that God would strengthen you for the challenges lie ahead.
The Death of Herod Agrippa: Acts 12:20-25.
The people of Tyre and Sidon depended on King Agrippa for their food and at peace with him. On an appointed day Herod put on his royal rob made of silver and sat on his throne. People who heard his speech said “It is the voice of a god and not a man”. Agrippa loved their praise and did not give glory to God (Isaiah 42:8). Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down. He was eaten by worms and died. With Herod’s death, the word of God increased and multiplied (Acts 12:24). God will not share his glory with others. The humble and lowly will receive the life giving blessings of God's mercy and grace. No human can stand in the way of God’s work. Christians prayed fervently in the mist of persecution and God works beyond what they ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). At this point Barnabas and Saul return to Antioch. They took John Mark with them. They had come to Jerusalem to deliver the relief fund collected by the church of Antioch. Pray that God would help us to live for his glory.