As Barnabas and Saul were at Antioch, Herod Agrippa, the grandson of Herod the Great ventured against Christians as they undermined Judaism, a religion much respected by the king.
“1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church.” (Acts 12:1)
To gain popularity among Jews who resented him, king Herod Agrippa targeted and persecuted Christian leaders, just as his uncle, king Herod Antipas who beheaded John the Baptist and murdered children in Bethlehem as he sought to kill Jesus.
“2 Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword.” (Acts 12:2)
Fulfilling Jesus’ prophecy for James, that he would drink of the same cup of suffering as his brother John, the apostle was the first one put to death. It would be by the sword, or beheading that John would give his life as a Christian martyr.
“3 And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread. 4 So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover.” (Acts 12:3-4)
King Herod was an Edomite, an Arab from the region between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqab who desired the Jews’ affection. To further please Jewish leaders, and oblivious to the wrath of God, after he murdered James the king endeavored to capture another Christian apostle in Peter, a leader of the church of the risen Christ.
Though Herod’s plan for Peter was similar to that of James, the Lord would use Peter’s capture and imprisonment to a purpose much greater than one tied to an execution.
Since Peter’s arrest took place during Passover, a Jewish celebration of their deliverance from slavery in Egypt, king Herod jailed the apostle using sixteen soldiers divided in four squads to watch the prisoner around the clock.
Though certainly sufficient, Herod’s forces would prove to be useless versus the mighty hand of God… Let’s pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Luke,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre