Pastors Ponderings

The purpose of Chapter 12 in the book of Acts is to show us that Jesus is King of kings.

The story goes that Herod Agrippa (who is not the same Herod who tried to have Jesus killed when he was born) is king over Judah and Jerusalem and to please the Jews he persecutes the Christians. He kills James, a disciple of Jesus and the brother of John, and he puts Peter in prison. Herod’s the king; he can do what he likes with people. Although, it is funny because this time when imprisoning the apostle, Herod makes sure that Peter is chained to guards and that maybe because way back in chapter 5, the apostles were jailed and an angel open the prison doors and the apostles walked out, unhindered.

Anyway, Peter is chained in jail and an angel appears and sets him free. However, Peter thinks he’s dreaming until he’s out of the jail and he realises this is really happening. Peter goes to the church where they are all praying for Peter’s release. Peter knocks on the door, Rhoda recognises Peter voice but she doesn’t let him in and in a comedy of errors she runs back to the praying church and says, ‘Peter’s outside!’

The church, who are still fervently praying for Peter’s release, don’t believe her. Isn’t that just like us—we pray for stuff and yet we can’t believe it when are prayers are answered. Eventually they realise Peter has been supernaturally released from jail and they immediately get Peter out of the district before he can be arrested again. Herod awakes in the morning to find he has lost his prize prisoner and no one knows how it happened. So, Herod executes the guards and flounces off to Caesarea, never to return to Judah because while he’s there the people called him a god and Herod didn’t argue with them and so the true God of All struck him with a disease—Herod was consumed by worms that killed him.

This whole story is there so that you know that earthly kings will confront the church but they will never have the final say because there is only one King and his name is Jesus. Herod tried to stop the story about Jesus by killing the leaders but in the end, he died and his plans failed because as Luke tells us ‘the word of God grew and multiplied’. Luke wants you to know that things can appear to go badly for believers in Jesus and for the church but Jesus remains sovereign, ruling over all and His plans and purposes are going ahead even when the authorities and powers outside of the church are trying to stop it.