Story Eight

HOW THE IRON GATE WAS OPENED
YOU remember that in the years while Jesus was teaching, Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm and the part of the land near it was ruled by a Rṓ man governor, whose name was Pī́ late; and that he was the ruler who sent Jesus Christ to the cross. After some years, the emperor at Rōme, who ruled all the lands around the Great Sea, gave all the country of the Jews̝ to a man named Hĕŕ od Ā̇-grĭṕ pa, and made him king of Jū-dḗ ȧ. He was the nephew of the Hĕŕ od who killed Jŏhn the Băṕ tĭst, and the grandson of the other Hĕŕ od who killed all the little children of Bĕth́ le-hĕm, in trying to kill the little child Jesus, as we read in Story Three of Part Sixth. Hĕŕ od Ă-grĭṕ pȧ was the king of Jū-dḗ ȧ when Pḗ te͂r saw the vision on the housetop, and preached to the Gentiles, as we read in the last Story.
Hĕŕ od wished to please the Jews̝ in Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm; and he seized one of the apostles, Jāmes̝, the brother of Jŏhn, one of the three disciples who had been nearest to Jesus. He caused his guards to kill James with the sword, just as Jŏhn the Băṕ tĭst had been killed by his uncle, Hĕŕ od Ăń tĭ-păs. When he saw how greatly this act pleased the chief priests and rulers, he laid hands on Sī́ mon Pḗ te͂r also, and put him in prison, intending at the next feast of the Passover to lead him forth, and to put him to death.
Pḗ te͂r, therefore, was kept in the prison, with sixteen soldiers around the prison to guard him, four soldiers watching him all the time; but all the church prayed very earnestly to God for him. On the night before the day when Pḗ te͂r was to be brought out to die, he was sleeping in the prison, bound with two chains, while guards before the door were watching. Suddenly a bright light shone in Pḗ te͂r's cell, and an angel from the Lord stood by him. The angel struck him on the side, and awoke him, and said, "Rise up quickly.”
And as Pḗ te͂r awaked and stood up, his chains fell from his hands. And the angel said to him:
"Tie your girdle about your waist, and bind your sandals on your feet.”
And Pḗ te͂r did as he was told, scarcely knowing what he was doing. Then the angel said:
"Wrap your cloak around you, and follow me.”
And Pḗ te͂r followed the angel, thinking that he was dreaming.
They passed the first guard of the soldiers, and the second; but no one stirred to hinder them. Then they came to the great iron gate on the outside of the prison; and this opened to them, as if unseen hands were turning it. They went out of the prison into the city, and passed through one street. Then the angel left Pḗ te͂r as suddenly as he had come to him. By this time Pḗ te͂r was fully awake, and he said:
"Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel, and has set me free from the power of King Hĕŕ od.”
Pḗ te͂r thought of what he should do, and where he should go; and he turned toward the house of a woman named Mā́ ry̆, who was near of kin to Bäŕ na-băs; and who had a son named Jŏhn Märk, then a young man, the same who many years afterward wrote "the Gospel according to Märk." At Mā́ ry̆́ s house many were met together, and they were praying for Pḗ te͂r.
Pḗ te͂r came to the house and knocked on the outside door, and called to those who were within. A young woman named Rhṓ dȧ came to the door. She listened, and at once knew the voice of Pḗ te͂r. So glad was she, that she did not think to open the door, but ran into the house, and told them all that Pḗ te͂r was standing at the door. They said to her, "You are crazed!”
But she said that she was sure that Pḗ te͂r was there, for she knew his voice. And then they said:
"It must be an angel who has taken Pḗ te͂r’s form!”
But Pḗ te͂r kept on knocking; and when at last they opened the door, and saw him, they were filled with wonder. With his hand he beckoned to them to listen; and he told them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And Pḗ te͂r said to them:
"Tell these things to Jāmes̝ and to the other apostles.”
And then he went away to a place where Hĕŕ od and his men could not find him. The morning came, and there was a great stir among the soldiers, as to what had become of Pḗ te͂r. Hĕŕ od the king sought for Pḗ te͂r, but could not find him; and in his anger he ordered that the guards in the prison should be put to death. And not long after this Hĕŕ od himself died so suddenly that many believed his death came from the wrath of God upon him. So Hĕŕ od perished; but Pḗ te͂r, whom he sought to kill, lived many years, working for Christ.
The Jāmes̝ of whom Pḗ te͂r spoke, when he said, "Tell these things to Jāmes̝," was not Jāmes̝ the apostle, the brother of Jŏhn, for already that Jāmes̝ had been put to death by Hĕŕ od. He spoke of another Jāmes̝, a son of Jṓ s̝eph and Mā́ ry̆, a younger brother of Jesus, one who was always called "the Lord's brother." This Jāmes̝ was a very holy man; and a leader of the church in Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm, where he lived many years. Some time after this James wrote the book of the New Testament called "The Epistle of James.”
Lesson 40. The First Missionaries.
(Tell Story 8 in Part Seventh.)
1. Where did a great church of Christ grow up? At Antioch in Syria
2. Who preached and taught in the church at Antioch? Barnabas and Saul.
3. For what work were Barnabas and Saul sent out from Antioch? To preach the gospel in other lands.
4. What are those who go out to other lands to preach the gospel called? Missionaries.
5. To what island did the missionaries and Barnabas first go preaching the gospel? To the island of Corinth.
6. By what name was Saul called after this time? Paul, the apostle.
7. In what land did the missionaries, Paul and Barnabas, preach after they left the island of Cyprus? In Asia Minor.
8. In what city of Asia Minor did they begin preaching the gospel? In Antioch of Pisidia.
9. In what place were they first worshipped as gods and then stoned? At Lystra.
10. What did Paul and Barnabas do in all the places which they visited on this journey? They planted churches of Christ.
11. To what place did they go again after their journey? To Antioch in Syria.