Deliverance and Death
By Pastor Rachel
1. The Deliverance
In previous chapters, the gospel was brought to the gentiles, the church grew, and everything seemed to be going well. But where there are revivals, persecution comes.
Acts 12 records the death of James, one of the three leaders of the church in Jerusalem, at the hands of King Herod. To further please the Jewish leaders and strengthen his rule, Herod arrested Peter and was going to kill him. There was no way for Peter to escape, and he knew what was waiting for him because it had already happened to James. “The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance” (Acts 12:6, NIV).
Peter was sleeping! In fact, he was sleeping so soundly that the angel had to poke him to wake him up! Peter was secure in God’s purpose, whether it meant life or death. As written in Romans 14:8 NIV, “If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” Then the chains fell of Peter’s wrists and he was freed from prison.
Rest in God’s presence, just like Peter. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV).
Know that you belong to God,
The one who knows you.
2. A Church of Prayer
After Peter’s arrest, the church was earnestly praying for him. They were still praying together at midnight when Peter was released and knocked at the door. Ironically, no one believed it was Peter. They prayed without believing. Still, God heard their prayer.
Sometimes we pray but don’t think God will listen. Jesus commanded that we should “always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1 NIV), even if you are not sure whether your prayer has been heard by God or not.
Are you praying with faith as you pray?
If not, ask God to help you overcome your disbelief.
3. Herod’s Death
God is a God who defends his glory and prospers his word. With all his great power to persecute the disciples, Herod was struck down by God because he didn’t give glory to God. As human beings, we tend to take glory for ourselves. But God is the source of everything we have. He is who we should rely on, not ourselves. Don’t think of what you can do by yourself; know that it is God who enables you to do anything and everything.
God’s work won’t be stopped by anyone or anything. Herod tried to prevent the proclamation of the gospel, yet “the word of God continued to spread and flourish” (Acts 12:24 NIV).
May you find peace and have a good rest in the Lord, both body and soul.
May you learn to trust God in everything you do and know that He is the one in charge.
May your pray to Him with trust.
In Him and by Him,
You are set free.