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Acts 12

Peter is delivered from prison
About that time, Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. 2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 3 And when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. And those were the days of unleavened bread. 4 And when he had taken him, he put him in prison and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. 5 Therefore Peter was kept in the prison; but earnest prayer was offered to God for him by the church.
   6 And when Herod was about to bring him out, that same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains; and guards before the door were guarding the prison. 7 And an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying: Rise up quickly. And his chains fell off from 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; and he did not perceive that it was true which was done by the angel, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 And when they were past the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city. This opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and passed on through one street; and immediately the angel departed from him.
   11 And when Peter came to himself, he said: Now I know of a truth, that the Lord has sent his angel and delivered me out of the hand of Herod and from all that the Jews were expecting. 12 And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark. There many were gathered together and were praying. 13 And when he knocked at the door of the gate, a maid named Rhoda came to answer. 14 And when she recognised Peter's voice, she did not open the gate, but in joy ran inside and told everyone that Peter stood before the gate. 15 And they said to her: You are mad. But she confidently affirmed that it was so. And they said: It is his angel.
   16 But Peter continued knocking; and when they had opened, they saw him and were amazed. 17 But he, motioning with the hand to hold their peace, declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said: Tell these things to James and to the brothers. And he departed and went to another place.
   18 Now as soon as it was day, there was no small anxiety among the soldiers about what had become of Peter. 19 And when Herod had searched for him and not found him, he examined the guards, and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there.

The death of Herod
   20 Now Herod was highly displeased with those at Tyre and Sidon. They came with one accord to him and having made Blastus the king's chamberlain their friend, they asked for peace, because their country was fed from the king's country. 21 And upon a set day, Herod dressed himself in royal apparel and sat on the throne and delivered an oration to them. 22 And the people shouted: The voice of a god and not of a man. 23 And immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give God the glory; and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.
   24 But the word of God grew and multiplied.
   25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had completed their service, taking with them John whose surname was Mark.


12:3,4 There are several similarities with the situation at a previous Passover when Jesus was killed. We should always be looking for points of contact between His sufferings and our own experience.

12:10 The Angel actually went with Peter through every street he ever walked; it’s just that as he walked those two streets, he could see the Angel. We each have a guardian Angel who is constantly with us. If only we could see the Angel, we would feel so much differently about our lives and situations.

12:12 Holding a prayer meeting all night indicates the intense focus of mind which these early believers had. But when their prayer meeting was interrupted with the news that the prayers had been answered- they just didn’t believe it and even mocked the idea. We too can pray without real expectation that the answer will come, and may come sooner and more powerfully than we could ever imagine.

12:15 The Christians believed that we each have a guardian, representative Angel.

12:23 God is so sensitive to pride- He hates it.