Now Paul was converted, his mission set, and with Barnabus at his side, it seemed as though the church entered a time of peace. Sadly, that would not be the case. Herod, the Jewish king, decided to persecute the church and its leadership. He had James, John’s brother, arrested and killed. Next, he tracked down and arrested Peter. Herod’s goal was to repeat the scene Pilate played out with Jesus. Herod would wait until Passover, and then parade Peter out before the people and kill the Apostle.
As the Bible has demonstrated many times, however, that would not be the case this time. God literally sent an angel to enter the jail, free Peter, and march him out from among His captors, right under their noses. This was neither no small feat, nor was it a dream or vision. The churches prayer vigil to save Peter was literally interrupted by Peter’s return. The guards charged with Peter’s oversight were executed for failing their duty. Peter was then secreted away to safety and ultimately, Herod died of vanity and narcissism!
God will not be mocked. He will execute His plan for our lives. That plan may have some trials, bumps, and difficult circumstances, but in the end, nothing escapes God’s sight or understanding. We simply need to remember that whatever the outcome, this is not our home. We are in route to our home, Heaven. Heaven is where we will spend eternity with God and others whom God has redeemed. In the meanwhile, we must remain ready to honor God with all that we have, and all that we do, following His lead in our lives. If we will, He will bless us, use us, and give us a full, meaningful, and abundant life.
God Bless You
About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. 2 He killed James the brother of John with the sword, 3 and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. 4 And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. 5 So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.
Peter Is Rescued
6 Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. 7 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. 8 And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” 9 And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. 11 When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”
12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. 13 And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. 15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” 16 But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers.”[a] Then he departed and went to another place.