BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 5, Day 5: Acts 12

Summary of passage:  King Herod arrested James, the brother of John, and executed him.  He seized Peter as well with the same fate in mind.  But the Feast of Passover was occurring so Herod had to postpone his plans for Peter.  Meanwhile, people were praying for him.  Then, an angel of the Lord appeared to Peter the night before his execution and rescued him.

Peter went to the house of Mary mother of John to tell them he was okay.  Many people were there praying for him.  The servant girl Rhoda was shocked as was everyone else at Peter’s escape.  He told his tale and told them to tell James and the others.  Then Peter fled for safety. Herod then killed all the guards who let Peter escape.

God then struck Herod down and the word of the Lord continued to spread.  Then Barnabas and Saul returned to Jerusalem from Antioch (Acts 11:25-6) with John also called Mark.

Personal Questions:

13)  Prayer works miracles.  The people prayed for Peter.  An angel rescued him.  If you do evil, God will judge you in the end.  Herod was evil to the core.  God struck him down.  Despite all the persecution, the truth of God’s word prevails.  Man cannot conquer God.

14)  God protects those who believe in Him even when things seem hopeless.  He rewards those who do not give up.  The bad guys will get their due reward in the end.  I can trust God to deal with evil people and vindicate the good guys.

Conclusions:  Do you ever wonder why Peter was rescued but not James?  I wanted more information on this from the Bible.  I’m assuming the Lord’s work for Peter was not done and James’ was.  James’ death had a purpose as did Peter’s remaining life.  Interesting to think on though.

End Notes:  There were several Herods throughout Roman history spanning approximately 100 years from about 30 BC to 64 AD–all ruling over parts of present-day Israel.  I’m assuming this Herod was the one involved in Jesus’ trial (Luke 22-23).  If you have a Bible Dictionary, look up Herod.  I found three pages in mine all about the different Herods.

The most profound thing I discovered was the Herod dynasty kept the peace in this region (hard even today) during this time frame, which gave the early church the time it needed to grow.  It postponed the inevitable clash which was coming of the Romans versus the Jews over religious differences. (Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary by J D Douglas and Merrill C Tenney)

Tyre and Sidon were the principle cities of Phoenicia (modern-day Lebanon).  See map HERE.

Great historical background on both cities HERE.