Acts 12: Rescued!

I have never noticed before today how similar this account of the near-death and rescue of Peter is to the death and resurrection of Jesus.

  • Both face one of the Herods
  • Both are arrested around the time of the Passover
  • The arrest of each is preceded by the killing of a previously popular leader: John the Baptist and James
  • Both Herods are motivated by placating the Jewish people
  • Jesus hung between two criminals, while Peter was chained between two soldiers
  • Jesus escaped the tomb; Peter escaped a prison and iron city gate
  • Once freed, both go to a “Mary” first
  • The reunion with friends is incomplete in both accounts: people run off to tell others, and Jesus and Peter both tell someone to tell significant disciples about their return
  • The guards in both accounts are put to death for their perceived negligence

The interesting point is that while both stories are so similar, the fate of each was quite differently: Jesus died but Peter was spared.

Nonetheless, God’s will is done in each story.  It was God’s will for Jesus to die on that day.  Presumably, it was God’s will for Peter to live another day.  Both served God’s greater goals — to die for all and to continue preaching and leading the early church — but in different ways.

We can rest in an assurance that God will bring His will to pass one way or another.  Some times we will be rescued like Peter.  Sometimes we will not, like James.  But, positive or negative outcomes, God’s desires will be done.

What verse struck you in this chapter?

Categories: Acts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Acts 12: Rescued!

  1. Trent Williamson

    Verse 5 “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” – Is this the first time that the word ‘church’ is used in scripture?

  2. Actually, shows “church” is used 10x before this passage. But some of them were just in passing and easy to miss. I love how this is the church truly being church.

  3. Melanie Semore

    V. 12– just the fact that they were praying for Peter in the middle of the night. I’m not sure I’ve ever lost sleep in order to pray. It’s also interesting that the were praying for Peter’s safety, but they were surprised when their prayers were answered!

    • I love it! Such earthy realities. It is so easy to glorify the early Christians, but they were just as surprised as we often are when prayer really works.

  4. King Herod Agrippa I killed 2 apostles, James. Jews pleased killing their rabbi? Hemph. Luckily Peter have been help by angel of God and escaped from prison.

    V17 – “Tell James and the brothers about this”, why tell James, I thought James is already die in v2. Is it Peter do not know about that?

    V23 – A direct hit, God struck King Herod. A God have been describe differently in this verse.

    V25- I confuse, why need to change a name, John to Mark, etc.

    • Glad to have you back Hifzan. Hope all is well.

      James was a popular name in the first century AD. The James that is killed is the apostles James that we have been reading about up until now. This other James is fast becoming the new leader of the Christians in Jerusalem. Interestingly, he is the brother of Jesus, who during Jesus’ life thought his brother was out of his mind and did not think he was the Messiah. This second James is the one who will write the book James we will read later this year.

      At this point in first century Judaism, it is best to think of Judaism as a divided religion with several different sects. Christianity would have been considered one of those. It might be easiest to think of this as a sect versus sect skirmish that ends up getting the leader of one of the Christian sect killed by way of government intervention. Those Jews who were not Jesus-followers would not have cared about the death of James.

  5. “Slept like a baby” . . . . How? WOW!

    This is a classic power struggle chapter. I like chapters like these, because so much of the world runs on power and so often I am tempted to join in. But it is God who has the power, and God who will bring His will along, not me. I need to remember that. Shackles fall off, iron doors swing open, escapes managed, and murderous kings stopped through the unmediated power of God. As Courtney has been saying, my job is too believe.

  6. It’s interesting, Jason, how that struggle for power left Herod a “maggoty old man.” Peterson can turn a phrase, huh?

  7. “But the hope of God’s kingdom kept spreading and multiplying everywhere.” (12:24)

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