King Herod vs The Church
It was about the same time Barnabas and Saul of Tarsus left for Judaea with relief for the saints there that King Herod was killing and imprisoning Christian leaders.
“Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church,” (Acts 12:1).
This is not the first time that a king, or even this one, is going about killing apostles and other members of a congregation.
He succeeded in killing James. He’s one of the three who was in Jesus’ inner circle. They were Peter, James, and John.
“And he killed James the brother of John with the sword,” (Acts 12:2).
Here King Herod is targeting Christian leaders for a number of reasons.
He Kills or Imprisons Christian Leaders – Will this Weakens the Church?
First, killing and imprisoning Christian leaders (Apostles) gave the Jews much pleasure.
Second, this king enjoys being popular and talked about by the Jews.
“And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)” (Acts 12:3).
Third, King Herod wasn’t killing these apostles because of anything that they were doing, but to motivate and maintain popular support and visibility with the Jews.
Consequently, he decided to arrest another prominent leader of the Church, Apostle Peter.
And in those days the King was the ultimate power. As a result, Peter was not just arrested but also imprisoned without trial. And his security detail tripled to prevent any unexpected prison-break.
He Planned to Present Peter to the People After Easter
“And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people,” (Acts 12:4).
Above, this explicit mention of “Easter” is the only one in The Bible.
Folks pay close attention to King Herod’s reason for detaining Peter. After Easter, he would present this Christian leader to the Jewish people. They would decide his fate.
King Herod’s Killing of Christian Leaders is not Impervious to Prayer to God
If this happened it would be a death sentence for him. They did a similar thing to Jesus Christ. Why should they spare his life?
However, King Herod’s killing of Christian leaders is not impervious to prayer to God.
“Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him,” (Acts 12:5).
I love this phrase right here: “…but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him,” (Acts 12:5).
Irrespective of what’s happening in your life, always remember, not only must you pray about it but prayer to the Lord God changes your situation.
There are very few things we shouldn’t pray about. The one that comes to mind right now is healing. Jesus Christ never instructs us to pray for healing.
This may surprise you. And the main reason we wouldn’t pray for healing because the Lord Jesus instruct his Christian leaders otherwise. So, praying for it would constitute disobedience to him.
The Lord’s Timing is Always Impeccable
Subsequently, the Church prayed to the Lord God for Peters’ release and it happened.
The Lord’s timing is always impeccable! The same night King Herod planned to present this Christian leader to the Jews, but the Lord freed him.
Now, Peter’s detainment was no ordinary event. Just look at the security measures.
One, he had a soldier on either side. Two, he was secured by two chains: one secured both hands and the other shackled both feet. Three, there were “four quaternions of soldiers” outside the locked prison-doors assigned to “keep him” (Acts 12:6, 7).
Additionally, there were two different set of guards there to secure him, (Acts 12:10).
Prayer to the Lord God Changes the Impossible to Possible
“And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison,” (Acts 12:6).
This is very, very tight security. But nothing is impossible for our Lord. So, He sent an angel to free Peter.
You may have been praying about a matter for a while, but your prayers remained unanswered. But don’t give up. If the Lord is silent concerning your prayers that indicates a problem.
Search the Scriptures, is your request the will of God? Is it contrary to the Word of God?
If your answer is no on both counts: be a bit more patient. Wait. And while you wait, continue to pray! The Lord is always punctual!
All Christian Leaders Don’t Have Identical Experiences
“And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands,” (Acts 12:7).
I want us to realize that all Christian leaders don’t have identical experiences. You could have an experience with the Lord God right in the midst of others and they are ignorant of what just occurred.
The angel of the Lord visited Peter in prison and spoke with him, he instructed him, and the soldiers on both sides of Peter were unaware of all the happenings.
“And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals…. so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me,” (Acts 12:8).
When the Lord God starts to bring to pass the things we pray to Him for sometimes it appears so surreal that we may think that we are seeing a vision, or in a trance. Peter felt like that when the angel of God freed him.
“And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision,” (Acts 12:9).
When Your Ways Please the Lord God
When your ways please the Lord God, even inanimate objects respond to your very presence. You are not alone. An angel of God is always there with you. Be happy!
“When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him,” (Acts 12:10).
In this prison-liberation, the angel of the Lord only departed from Peter when he was safe. But he is never far away.
Finally, now the realization hit us that during this liberation of this Christian leader, he was indeed in a trance.
Therefore, the Bible says “… when Peter [came] to himself….” (Acts 12:11). In other words, the realization hits him, this indeed was an angel of God.
The Lord Dashed Their Expectations to Pieces
In closing, the Jews were expecting to celebrate the public execution of this Christian leader, but the Lord disappointed them. He dashed their expectations to pieces.
So Peter “… said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews,” (Acts 12:11).
The imprisonment or killing of Christian leaders is a strike, not only against the Church but against the Lord God.
Irrespective of the result, that is, whether the leader will die or liberated, the awesomeness of the power of the Lord God will prevail.
Who can fight against Him and win? Not King Herod, nor any other leader or person. The Lord God is supreme.
Remember Saul of Tarsus the Persecutor of Jesus? He got a little taste, just an infinitesimal portion of the true power of God and look what it did to him!
When anyone decides to come against the true Christian Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ, such a one decides to move against the Lord God.
Refrain from speaking evil against true Christian leaders
And such a move could either change you, as it did for Saul or kill you has it did to King Herod later, (Acts 12:23).
Refrain from speaking evil against true Christian leaders. As a matter of fact, don’t speak ill of any leader, Christian or otherwise.
They are in their positions because the Lord God placed them there.
Didn’t you know that the Lord God, sets up Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States?
Yes, He did. So, respect him and give honor where honor is due. No, I’m not being political, this is Bible, (Romans 13:7).
In closing, instead of saying or writing disparaging and non-constructive things about President Trump, pray for him.
“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty,” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).