Scripture Study: Acts 12

Acts 12  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
ACT 12Another instance of God's care and power is here given; man cannot go beyond What God allows.
We are back to Jerusalem, and Herod the king is seeking glory for himself in persecuting the Church. He was allowed to kill James the brother of John with the sword, and seeing that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also, intending after the Passover feast to put him to death before the people. Four quaternions of soldiers are deputed to take care of him, and there he is chained with two chains, between two soldiers and humanly speaking, escape is impossible. It pleased God to allow James, the brother of John, to be put to death. God has His purposes with us all, which He does not explain, but expects us to rest in Him. "In your patience possess ye your souls," was said for a time like this. (Luke 21:1919In your patience possess ye your souls. (Luke 21:19); 1 Peter 1:99Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:9).) When it is God's time, James is taken, but He has other purposes with Peter.
The Psalmist says, (76:10), "Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee; the remainder of wrath Thou shall restrain."
In a house in the city, the assembly were on their faces in prayer to God for him; they are concerned for the valued servant of the Lord. Did they not need him yet? And so they make prayer unceasingly for him. They are the Lord's remembrances (Isa. 62:66I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, (Isaiah 62:6) margin), and the Spirit leads them to pray for that which was His mind to do.
That night, before he was to be brought forth to the people, Peter was quietly sleeping chained to his guards by two chains, and the keepers before the door kept the prison. And, behold, the angel of the Lord came there, and smote him on the side, and roused him up, saying, "Rise up quickly," and his chains fell off his hands. Next, he says, "Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals," and so he did. "Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me." Peter followed the angel out, all the time thinking that it was a dream of the night, a vision.
They go on past the first and second ward, then the iron gate that led to the city opened of its own accord, and they went out, and passed on through one street, then the angel left him. Peter gradually becomes conscious that it was a reality, and no dream, and says, "Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent His angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews." When he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many were gathered together praying. And as Peter knocked at the door of the entry, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda. And when she knew Peter's voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate. They said to her, "Thou art mad," but she strenuously asserted that it was Peter. Then they said, "It is his angel." They would not believe that their prayers were answered so quickly, but here it came while they were yet praying. Is that not like ourselves? Zecharias had given up looking for an answer to his prayers. (Luke 1.)
But Peter continued knocking till they opened the door. How astonished they were! But he, beckoning with his hand to them to be silent, told them how the Lord had brought him out of prison, and said, "Go show these things unto James, and to the brethren," then he departed to another place.
Prayer is indeed a refuge for believing hearts, but how little are we prepared to receive at once a full answer. We do not expect deliverances to come to us in this miraculous way, yet we often find the deliverance is just as perfect by what we might call ordinary circumstances; our hearts are assured that it is the Lord.
Herod, and the soldiers, cannot make it out, how he escaped. Herod condemned the soldiers to death, and going down to Casarea, he allowed men to worship him as if he were God, but his glory turns to corruption, and God smote him.
He expired, eaten by worms. This is the end of man's glory.
But the word of God grew and multiplied. Barnabas and Saul return from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John Mark.