We see in Acts 12:1-19 that Jesus’ victory is undeniable. It is clear that Jesus is victorious over death, fear, and in salvation. Illustrated by Luke’s one short verse based on James’ death, we begin to understand that it is not so much our role in God’s plan that is most important but God’s will and how he works it by us, through us, and around us. Death for believers is only a removal of the final veil between us and eternity with Christ. For us death is a good thing because Jesus conquered it and brought us into his family. We also see Jesus’ victory over fear. In the most impossible of situations we find Peter. He is imprisoned, chained, between two guards with four more who rotated out with a new crew every three hours, behind multiple locked gates, in the tower that held the rest of the Roman garrison. An impossible escape! He knew he may be slaughtered in the morning, like his brother in Christ James had been. But, he was sleeping like a baby. The church knew this also yet were not driven to despair. They knew if God could make light the darkest moment in the Christian existence (Christ’s death, brought to light by His resurrection), then he had all the power to free Peter, which he did, miraculously. Peter being freed from prison and earthy doom serves as a beautiful picture of our own salvation. We are chained to our sin, unconscious, and unable to free ourselves from the darkness. Jesus comes, shines his light in our darkness and awakens us. He then calls us to follow him and we are inspired by his mercy, glory, and goodness to go and tell the good news of him who saved us to the world. May we not be bound to trying to clean ourselves up to make ourselves presentable to God! Let us own Christ’s perfection! Let’s go from the foundation of the gospel and share the good news that Jesus has done what we couldn’t, on our behalf!
ACTS 12:1-19 About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. 2 He killed James the brother of John with the sword, 3 and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. 4 And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four 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 prayer for him was made to God by the church.
6 Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. 7 And behold,an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. 8 And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and 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 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. 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 came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and 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 John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. 13 And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 Recognizing Peter’s voice, 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 his angel!”16 But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. 17 Butmotioning 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 James and to the brothers.” 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 ordered that they should be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent time there.
1. Was there anything from the sermon, the big idea, or Acts 12 that stood out to you, challenged you, or confused you?
“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:56-58).
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