Herod Kills James
Verse 1 – Now about that time Herod, the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church.
Verse 2 – Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
James and John were the son’s of Zebedee, and were two of the original disciples.
Verse 3 – And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread.
Verse 4 – So when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover.
Verse 5 – Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.
Peter had been preaching and doing miracles among the people, but the leaders and the king wanted him gone. Why do people plot evil against those who do good for others? Peter could have gotten discouraged and thought, “What’s the use?” But he knew what God had called him to do and he was determined to do it.
Why is it Christians give up so easy after a disappointment or persecution, now a days? To give up on what God’s called a person to do before it’s complete, is a lack of trust that God can bring it to pass. Every time a Christian goes through a difficult situation, it should make them more determined than ever to see it through. If God said it, it will come to pass no matter what happens in between!
Verse 6 – And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping; bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison.
Has God ever delivered you out of an impossible situation? I’m sure He has. Do you think He will do it again and again? If you are His child, why wouldn’t He? He gave us a promise that He would never leave us. So when turmoil and discourse comes into your life, do what you can do and put the rest in His hands and go to sleep!
Verse 7 – Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!” and his chains fell off his hands.
Verse 8 – Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did. And he said to him, “Put on your garment and follow me.”
Angels are God’s messengers with supernatural power to accomplish His will. People do not become angels when they die and go to heaven, as some might think. They are beings that God created to do His will. Sometimes they take on human form when talking to us.
Verse 9 – So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision.
Peter had been in a deep sleep and the angel had to strike him in order to wake him. It would be normal to think that he was still dreaming.
Verse 10 – When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gates that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.
This iron gate was the outside gate to the prison. They opened supernaturally and Peter and the angel walked out and then the angel was gone. Notice none of the guards woke up. Our God is a supernatural God and can do the impossible anytime He wants.
Verse 11 – And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.
Verse 12 – So, when he considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying.
John Mark wrote the Gospel of Mark. His mother’s house was large enough to accommodate a large number of believers. When one of our brothers or sisters in Christ, are in need, we pray. God always answers.
Verse 13 – And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer.
Verse 14 – When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate.
Verse 15 – But they said to her, “You are beside yourself!” Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, “It is an angel.”
Yes, they had all been praying for Peter’s safety, because they expected Herod to execute him. There’s an old Jewish tradition that Jews believe that after a person dies, their guardian angel appears as the person. When you are praying for a salutation, believe that it has been done, and don’t be so surprised when it comes to pass.
Verse 16 – Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.
Verse 17 – But motioning to them with his hand to keep silent, he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. and he said, “Go, tell these things to James and to the brethren.” and he departed and went to another place.
This James, was Jesus’ brother, not John’s brother, for Herod had killed that James already. Jesus brother, James, did not become a believer until after Jesus’ resurrection.
Verse 18 – Then, as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers about what had become of Peter.
Verse 19 – But 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 form Judea to Caesarea, and stayed there.
The Jews considered Jerusalem their capital, but the Romans made Caesarea their headquarters in Palestine. That is where Herod Agrippa I, lived. Herod went to Caesarea, not Peter.
Verse 20 – Now Herod had been very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon; but they came to him with one accord, and having made Blastus the king’s chamberlain their friend, they asked for peace, because their country was supplied with food by the king’s country.
Verse 21 – So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them.
Verse 22 – And the people kept shouting, ‘The voice of a god and not of a man!”
Verse 23 – Then immediately an angel of the Lord stuck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died.
Most of all sin has a spiritual root of pride. Herod let the people praise him as if he were a god, and didn’t correct them. He took the glory that belongs to only God.
Verse 24 – But the word of God grew and multiplied.
Verse 25 – And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their ministry, and they also took with them John whose surname was Mark.