1 Now about that time Herod the king arrested certain ones of the church to torture them. 2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. (Those were the days of unleavened bread.) 4 And when he had arrested him, he put him in prison and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to guard him; intending after Easter to bring him out before the people. 5 So Peter was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing by the church to God for him.
- Herod was ruling to please the people but God put him on the throne. (Psalm 75:6,7).
- John 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
- Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed are those that are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you, when men revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven…
- Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man brings a snare: but whoever puts his trust in the LORD will be safe.
God delivers from the hand of evil
6 And when Herod would have brought him out, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the guards before the door guarded the prison. 7 And behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he struck Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Get up quickly. And his chains fell off his hands. 8 And the angel said to him, Dress yourself and tie on your sandals. So he did. And he said to him, Wrap your cloak around you and follow me. 9 And he went out and followed him; and he did not know that what was being done by the angel was real; but thought he saw a vision. 10 When they had past the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city; which opened for them by itself: and they went out and passed on through one street; and immediately the angel departed from him. 11 And when Peter came to himself, he said, Now I know for sure, that the Lord sent his angel, and delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews. 12 And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John, whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying. 13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a maidservant named Rhoda came to ask who was there. 14 And when she knew Peter's voice, she did not open the gate for gladness, but ran in and told that Peter stood at the gate. 15 And they said to her, You are insane. But she insisted that it was so. Then they said, It is his angel.
16 But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. 17 But he signaled them with his hand to be quiet and declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, Go show these things to James and to the brothers. And he departed and went to another place. 18 Now as soon as it was day there was no small stir among the soldiers as to what became of Peter. 19 And when Herod sought him and did not find him, he examined the guards, and commanded that they be put to death. And he (Peter) went down from Judea to Caesarea, and stayed there.
- Contrast this earthly ruler who kills men for a matter over which they had no control with our heavenly ruler who died in the place of all of us.
- Ezekiel 34:12-16 As a shepherd seeks out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. 15. I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, says the Lord GOD. 16. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment (Herod).
God’s angel struck down Herod
God grows and multiplies His word
20 Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon; so they now joined together and sought an audience with him. After securing the support of Blastus, a trusted personal servant of the king, they asked for peace, because they depended on the king’s country for their food supply. 21 And on a set day Herod, dressed in royal robes, sat on his throne and made a speech to them. 22 And the people shouted saying, It is the voice of a god and not of a man. 23 And immediately the angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give God the glory: and he was eaten of worms and gave up the ghost. 24 But the word of God grew and multiplied. 25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their charge, and took with them John whose surname was Mark.
The Holy Spirit stops evil through His ministers
1 Now in the church at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers; Barnabas and Simeon, called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, Separate Barnabas and Saul to me for the work to which I have called them. 3 And when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. 4 So they, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, departed unto Seleucia; and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5 And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and also they had John as their minister. 6 And when they had gone through the isle to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar-jesus: 7 Who was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God.
The Lord’s ways are right
8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for this was the interpretation of his name) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. 9 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Spirit, set his eyes on him, 10 And said, O full of all subtlety and all mischief, you child of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? 11 And now, behold the hand of the Lord is on you, and you will be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.
- Job 5:9 Who does great things and unsearchable; marvelous things without number
God chose Israel and carried the nation as a Father carries his son
13 Now when Paul and his company left from Paphos they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John, departing from them, returned to Jerusalem. 14 But when they departed from Perga they came to Antioch in Pisidia and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day and sat down. 15 And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent to them saying, You men and brothers, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, speak. 16 Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and you that fear God, listen. 17 The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with a high arm he brought them out of it. 18 And for forty years he fed/carried them as a nursing father in the wilderness. 19 And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan, he divided their land to them by lot. 20 And after that he gave them judges for about 450 years, until Samuel the prophet. 21 And afterward they desired a king: and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for about forty years.
He raised up leaders for His nation
He raised His Savior from the dead
22 And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, who will fulfill all my will. 23 From this man's seed has God, according to his promise, raised unto Israel a Savior, Jesus: 24 When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25 And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Who do you think I am? I am not he. But, behold, there comes one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to unloose. 26 Men and brothers, children of the stock of Abraham, and whoever among you fears God, to you is the word of this salvation sent. 27 For those that dwell at Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not know him, nor the voices of the prophets that are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him. 28 And though they found no cause of death in him, yet they desired of Pilate that he be killed. 29 And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead.
- Revelation 1:5And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. To him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood
In Jesus is forgiveness of sins
31 And was seen many days by those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses to the people. 32 And we declare to you good news, how that the promise which was made to the fathers, 33 God has fulfilled the same to us, their children, in that he has raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, You are my Son, this day have I begotten you. 34 And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to decay, he said it this way, I will give you the sure mercies of David. 35 Therefore he said also in another psalm, You will not allow your Holy One to decay. 36 For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, and was laid with his fathers, and decayed: 37 But he, whom God raised again, saw no decay. 38 Therefore let it be known to you, men and brothers, that through this man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins.
- Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be as wool.
- 1 Peter 2:24-25 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray; but are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
In Him all who believe are justified from all things in the law
39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. 40 Beware therefore, lest that come on you which is spoken of in the prophets; 41 Behold you despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which you will in no way believe, though a man declare it unto you. 42 When the Jews had gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles sought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. 43 Now when the meeting had broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.
God fills with joy
44 When the next sabbath day came almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God. 45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spoke against those things that were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. 46 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, It was necessary that the word of God first be spoken to you: but since you put it from you and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For this is what the Lord commanded us saying, I have set you to be a light of the Gentiles, to be for salvation to the ends of the earth. 48 And when the Gentiles heard this they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region. 50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and honorable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51 But they shook off the dust of their feet against them and came to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Spirit.
- Luke 9:5 And whoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.
- Psalm 16:11 You will show me the path of life: in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures for evermore.
The Lord gave signs through His disciples
1 And it happened in Iconium that they both went together into the synagogue of the Jews, and spoke in such a way that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed. 2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and infected their minds with evil against the brothers. 3 They stayed there a long time speaking boldly in the Lord, who gave testimony to the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands. 4 But the multitude of the city was divided: and part agreed with the Jews and part with the apostles. 5 And when there was an assault made both by the Gentiles and also by the Jews with their rulers, to do them violence and to stone them, 6 They were aware of it, and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region.
- John 15:20 Remember the word that I said to you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
- Matthew 10:23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee to another.
Our God is the Living God who made heaven and earth, the sea and all things in them
7 And there they preached the gospel. 8 And a certain man sat at Lystra with no strength in his feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who had never walked: 9 The same one heard Paul speak: who steadily looking on him and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, 10 said with a loud voice, Stand upright on your feet. And he leaped up and walked. 11 And when the people saw what Paul had done they lifted up their voices saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men. 12 And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker. 13 Then the priest of Jupiter, who was before the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and would have sacrificed with the people. 14 Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of it, they tore their clothes and ran in among the people crying out, 15 Sirs, why do you do these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach to you that you should turn from these vanities to the living God, who made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them.
- The people of the ancient world carried around little statues of their gods.
- These statues didn’t live, breathe, or do anything.
- Neither do our false gods such as money, fame, beauty, etc. do anything for us.
- Our creator who made all things is here with us.
- Acts 17:28 For in Him we live and move and have our being.
- Romans 11:36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
He allowed nations to go their own ways
He gave rain and fruitful seasons
He fills our hearts with gladness
16 Who in times past allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Though he did not leave himself without witness, in that he did good and gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. 18 And with these sayings they barely restrained the people from sacrificing to them. 19 And certain Jews came there from Antioch and Iconium who persuaded the crowd, and having stoned Paul, they dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 20 However, as the disciples stood around him, he stood up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.
- 2 Corinthians12:2 I knew a man in Christ over fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
- Revelations 11:11 And after three and an half days the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell on them which saw them.
God opened the door of faith to the Gentiles
21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, to Iconium, and to Antioch, 22 Confirming the souls of the disciples and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. 23 And when they had ordained elders for them in every church and had prayed with fasting, they committed them to the Lord on whom they believed. 24 And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. 25 And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia: 26 And there sailed to Antioch, from where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they fulfilled. 27 And when they came there and had gathered the church together, they announced in detail all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 And there they stayed long time with the disciples.
SUMMARY: Acts 12-14
- God delivers from the hand of evil
- God astonishes
- God’s angel struck down Herod
- God grows and multiplies His word
- The Holy Spirit stops evil through His ministers
- The Lord’s ways are right
- God chose Israel and carried the nation as a Father carries his son
- He raised leaders for His nation
- He raised His Savior from the dead
- In Jesus is forgiveness of sin
- In Him all who believe are justified from all things in the law
- God fills with joy
- The Lord gave signs through His disciples
- Our God is the Living God who made heaven and earth
- He allowed nations to go their own ways
- He gave rain and fruitful seasons
- He fills our hearts with gladness
- God opened the door of faith to the Gentiles