James Killed and Peter Imprisoned 12 1 About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. 2 He killed f James the brother of John g with the sword, 3 and when he saw h that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during i the days of Unleavened Bread. 4 And when he had seized him, he put him j in prison, delivering him over to four k squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. 5 So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest l prayer for him was made to God by the church. Peter Is Rescued 6 Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, m bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. 7 And behold, n an angel of the Lord o stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. p He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And q the chains fell off his hands. 8 And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and r 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 him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but s thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. t It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. 11 When Peter u came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that v the Lord has sent his angel and w rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.” 12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of x John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and y were praying. 13 And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, z a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 Recognizing Peter’s voice, a in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. 15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is b his angel!” 16 But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. 17 But c motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to d James and to e the brothers.” 1 Then he departed and went to another place. 18 Now when day came, there was no little disturbance among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. 19 And after Herod searched for him and did not find him, he examined the sentries and f ordered that they should be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent time there. The Death of Herod 20 Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they came to him with one accord, and g having persuaded Blastus, the king’s chamberlain, 1 they asked for peace, because h their country depended on the king’s country for food. 21 On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. 22 And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” 23 Immediately i an angel of the Lord struck him down, because j he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last. 24 But k the word of God increased and multiplied. 25 l And Barnabas and Saul returned from 1 Jerusalem when they had completed their service, bringing with them m John, whose other name was Mark.
12 1 Κατʼ ἐκεῖνον δὲ τὸν καιρὸν ἐπέβαλεν Ἡρῴδης ὁ βασιλεὺς τὰς χεῖρας κακῶσαί τινας τῶν ἀπὸ τῆς ἐκκλησίας. 2 ἀνεῖλεν δὲ Ἰάκωβον τὸν ἀδελφὸν Ἰωάννου μαχαίρῃ. 3 Ἰδὼν δὲ ὅτι ἀρεστόν ἐστιν τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις, προσέθετο συλλαβεῖν καὶ Πέτρον, — ἦσαν δὲ [αἱ] ἡμέραι τῶν ἀζύμων — 4 ὃν καὶ πιάσας ἔθετο εἰς φυλακὴν παραδοὺς τέσσαρσιν τετραδίοις στρατιωτῶν φυλάσσειν αὐτόν, βουλόμενος μετὰ τὸ πάσχα ἀναγαγεῖν αὐτὸν τῷ λαῷ. 5 ὁ μὲν οὖν Πέτρος ἐτηρεῖτο ἐν τῇ φυλακῇ• προσευχὴ δὲ ἦν ἐκτενῶς γινομένη ὑπὸ τῆς ἐκκλησίας πρὸς τὸν θεὸν περὶ αὐτοῦ. 6 Ὅτε δὲ ἤμελλεν προαγαγεῖν αὐτὸν ὁ Ἡρῴδης, τῇ νυκτὶ ἐκείνῃ ἦν ὁ Πέτρος κοιμώμενος μεταξὺ δύο στρατιωτῶν δεδεμένος ἁλύσεσιν δυσὶν φύλακές τε πρὸ τῆς θύρας ἐτήρουν τὴν φυλακήν. 7 καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄγγελος κυρίου ἐπέστη καὶ φῶς ἔλαμψεν ἐν τῷ οἰκήματι• πατάξας δὲ τὴν πλευρὰν τοῦ Πέτρου ἤγειρεν αὐτὸν λέγων• ἀνάστα ἐν τάχει. καὶ ἐξέπεσαν αὐτοῦ αἱ ἁλύσεις ἐκ τῶν χειρῶν. 8 εἶπεν δὲ ὁ ἄγγελος πρὸς αὐτόν• ζῶσαι καὶ ὑπόδησαι τὰ σανδάλιά σου. ἐποίησεν δὲ οὕτως. καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ• περιβαλοῦ τὸ ἱμάτιόν σου καὶ ἀκολούθει μοι. 9 καὶ ἐξελθὼν ἠκολούθει καὶ οὐκ ᾔδει ὅτι ἀληθές ἐστιν τὸ γινόμενον διὰ τοῦ ἀγγέλου• ἐδόκει δὲ ὅραμα βλέπειν. 10 διελθόντες δὲ πρώτην φυλακὴν καὶ δευτέραν ἦλθαν ἐπὶ τὴν πύλην τὴν σιδηρᾶν τὴν φέρουσαν εἰς τὴν πόλιν, ἥτις αὐτομάτη ἠνοίγη αὐτοῖς καὶ ἐξελθόντες προῆλθον ῥύμην μίαν, καὶ εὐθέως ἀπέστη ὁ ἄγγελος ἀπʼ αὐτοῦ. 11 Καὶ ὁ Πέτρος ἐν ἑαυτῷ γενόμενος εἶπεν• νῦν οἶδα ἀληθῶς ὅτι ἐξαπέστειλεν [ὁ] κύριος τὸν ἄγγελον αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐξείλατό με ἐκ χειρὸς Ἡρῴδου καὶ πάσης τῆς προσδοκίας τοῦ λαοῦ τῶν Ἰουδαίων. 12 συνιδών τε ἦλθεν ἐπὶ τὴν οἰκίαν τῆς Μαρίας τῆς μητρὸς Ἰωάννου τοῦ ἐπικαλουμένου Μάρκου, οὗ ἦσαν ἱκανοὶ συνηθροισμένοι καὶ προσευχόμενοι. 13 κρούσαντος δὲ αὐτοῦ τὴν θύραν τοῦ πυλῶνος προσῆλθεν παιδίσκη ὑπακοῦσαι ὀνόματι Ῥόδη, 14 καὶ ἐπιγνοῦσα τὴν φωνὴν τοῦ Πέτρου ἀπὸ τῆς χαρᾶς οὐκ ἤνοιξεν τὸν πυλῶνα, εἰσδραμοῦσα δὲ ἀπήγγειλεν ἑστάναι τὸν Πέτρον πρὸ τοῦ πυλῶνος. 15 οἱ δὲ πρὸς αὐτὴν εἶπαν• μαίνῃ. ἡ δὲ διϊσχυρίζετο οὕτως ἔχειν. οἱ δὲ ἔλεγον• ὁ ἄγγελός ἐστιν αὐτοῦ. 16 ὁ δὲ Πέτρος ἐπέμενεν κρούων• ἀνοίξαντες δὲ εἶδαν αὐτὸν καὶ ἐξέστησαν. 17 κατασείσας δὲ αὐτοῖς τῇ χειρὶ σιγᾶν διηγήσατο [αὐτοῖς] πῶς ὁ κύριος αὐτὸν ἐξήγαγεν ἐκ τῆς φυλακῆς εἶπέν τε• ἀπαγγείλατε Ἰακώβῳ καὶ τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς ταῦτα. καὶ ἐξελθὼν ἐπορεύθη εἰς ἕτερον τόπον. 18 Γενομένης δὲ ἡμέρας ἦν τάραχος οὐκ ὀλίγος ἐν τοῖς στρατιώταις τί ἄρα ὁ Πέτρος ἐγένετο. 19 Ἡρῴδης δὲ ἐπιζητήσας αὐτὸν καὶ μὴ εὑρών, ἀνακρίνας τοὺς φύλακας ἐκέλευσεν ἀπαχθῆναι, καὶ κατελθὼν ἀπὸ τῆς Ἰουδαίας εἰς Καισάρειαν διέτριβεν. 20 ῏Ην δὲ θυμομαχῶν Τυρίοις καὶ Σιδωνίοις• ὁμοθυμαδὸν δὲ παρῆσαν πρὸς αὐτὸν καὶ πείσαντες Βλάστον, τὸν ἐπὶ τοῦ κοιτῶνος τοῦ βασιλέως, ᾐτοῦντο εἰρήνην διὰ τὸ τρέφεσθαι αὐτῶν τὴν χώραν ἀπὸ τῆς βασιλικῆς. 21 τακτῇ δὲ ἡμέρᾳ ὁ Ἡρῴδης ἐνδυσάμενος ἐσθῆτα βασιλικὴν [καὶ] καθίσας ἐπὶ τοῦ βήματος ἐδημηγόρει πρὸς αὐτούς, 22 ὁ δὲ δῆμος ἐπεφώνει• θεοῦ φωνὴ καὶ οὐκ ἀνθρώπου. 23 παραχρῆμα δὲ ἐπάταξεν αὐτὸν ἄγγελος κυρίου ἀνθʼ ὧν οὐκ ἔδωκεν τὴν δόξαν τῷ θεῷ, καὶ γενόμενος σκωληκόβρωτος ἐξέψυξεν. 24 Ὁ δὲ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ ηὔξανεν καὶ ἐπληθύνετο.
The Word of God is unstoppable Introduction : 'That Word above all earthly pow'rs, no thanks to them abideth' Death of Herod and triumph of the Word of God. Its power is underwritten by God Himself. What is our fundamental confidence as Christians and as a church, and for the Church as a whole? That the Word of God is true, and that it is unstoppable - despite people's efforts against it. That the paradigm of Psalm 2 is true. FCF: doubting the truth and/or power of God's word. Since the garden, we are compulsive doubters. And we choose to doubt and to trust other things as powerful: church growth techniques, money hacks, hard-nosed careerism, self-help body image thinking, mindfulness, Jesus is the incarnate Word of God. The Word became flesh. Truly, truly, I say to you. You will know the truth and it will set you free! Jesus vindicates the Word of God in His death and resurrection. All the promises of God are Amen in Him. Sins forgiven, the curse destroyed. The Kingdom announced and inaugurated. His rule is real, current, actual. But in the overlap of the ages, the Christian has to ask: do I believe this? Do I live with this as my confidence? If we dissolved down the content of your life, and our life as a church, would it reveal a confidence in the Word of God? How much is there that is basically unaffected by God's Word? The point today is not, 'Wow, I wonder how I can get God to rescue me from difficult circumstances (since James is martyred)', but 'Wow - let me not doubt it - God's Word will always win. So let me be utterly confident in it!' 1. Herod persecutes the church (v1-5) Herod Agrippa I (c.9BC-44AD). Grandson of Herod the Great. He was popular with the Jews, which may well explain his hostility to the way. Everything about him here is backed up by Josephus. James - brother of John (not brother of Jesus) (cf v. 16). Squad of 4 soldiers; 16 in total. Changing every three hours. 12.1-3 an early example of how the devil works his bloodthirsty opposition to the church by working through politically expedient opportunities for self-interested people. Christians so often find themselves persecuted because it suits someone's political agenda. And that person doesn't realise they are a servant of the devil in opposing the church of Christ. v5 the faithful church in earnest prayer. Earnest prayer the conditions in which the Word of God increases and multiplies. 2. The Lord Jesus frees Peter (v6-17) V6-11 the sovereign power of God to rescue. Vivid dramatisation of it here. I wonder why we are given quite so much detail - dress yourself, put on your sandals, wrap your cloak around, etc. The mention of the door of iron which opened of its own accord. Faint allusion to Psalm 107 , He shatters the door of bronze? For those who sat in darkness and the shadow of death. And why such a vigorous word in v7; he struck Peter and woke him? Is this the way a paramedic would rouse a semi-conscious patient to remove them from danger? Peter perhaps has been starved and beaten, is weary and semi-conscious and so this is unlike a gentle shaking that would wake you from an afternoon nap; rather the vigorous slapping that wakes the moribund. Slave girl answers door - one of those little details pointing to authenticity; you'd never write it that way if you were making it up. V12 Mary the mother of John Mark, who is mentioned again at the end of the chapter - that Paul and Barnabus took him back with them. So we already see these family/generational dynamics within church. Their family had church in their house...he grew up caring for and loving the church...Paul and Barnabus note this and take him with them. V17 explicit in the greek about motioning for silence with his hand. Was it that there was a noisy commotion from them? Or that Peter wanted to be covert? Seems to be the latter to me - he tells them to tell James and the brothers, and then disappears. 3. Herod died, but the Word of God increased (v18-24) Herod 'furious' with Tyre and Sidon. He could choose another port for commerce (eg Beirut or Caesarea). So they need his favour to secure trade deal. V23 similar words to v7; an angel of the LORD struck him. With Peter, he struck him to wake and rescue him. With Herod, he struck to judge and kill him. Here's what happens to those who fight God. V24 but the Word of God increased and multiplied. Where is your confidence today? Where is your fear? Cf. Communist China or Communist Russia. Particularly subtle forms of undermining confidence in the Word have gripped the church in recent decades. Church growth mvmt, missional movmt. cf Earlier liberalism. At root it's, we need to fix or redeem Christianity somehow, since it's in crisis. Yet it reveals a lack of confidence in the very Word itself. Instead, orthodoxy says, 'let us proclaim and live the Word of God.' One great encouragement came to me one day when I realised that, if you were somehow to remove the Word of God, there would be nothing to TCC at all. Maybe one or two friendships at best. But even most of the friendships and relationships here only exist because of a shared confidence in God's Word! We don't have any activities or ministries that are Word-of-God free zones.
Translation 1. Around that time, Herod the king laid violent hands on some from the church. 2. He murdered James the brother of Jesus with the sword. 3. Seeing that this was pleasing to the Jews, he continued to seize Peter as well - this was in the days of the unleavened bread/the Paschal feast - 4. he laid hold of him and placed him in prison, handed him to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending to lead him out to the people after the Paschal feast. 5. so Peter was indeed being guarded in the prison, but prayers were earnestly being made by the church to God for him. 6. When Herod was about to lead Peter out, on that same night Peter was sleeping having been bound with two chains between two soldiers, and guards were guarding the door of the prison. 7. And behold and angel of the Lord stood by and light shone in the prison; striking Peter on the side he woke him saying, 'Rise in haste'. And his chains fells off his hands. 8.