Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.
And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)
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.
Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
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.
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.
And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.
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.
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.
And when Peter was come to himself, he 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.
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.
And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda.
And when she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate.
And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.
But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished.
But he, beckoning unto them with the hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, Go shew these things unto James, and to the brethren. And he departed, and went into another place.
Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers, what was become of Peter.
And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not, he examined the keepers, and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judaea to Caesarea, and there abode.
And Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon: but they came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus the king’s chamberlain their friend, desired peace; because their country was nourished by the king’s country.
And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them.
And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.
And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.
But the word of God grew and multiplied.
And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.
Characteristics of a Weak Man
As you read this chapter, what did you notice about those mentioned? Was it the lack of faith which was demonstrated by the disbelief that Peter could possibly be at the door? Or was it the courage of Peter in the midst of certain death? Or how about the spineless leadership of Herod? After reading the record of Herod’s actions, it makes one wonder how he ever got into a position of leadership. He had Peter arrested, not because he had done anything wrong, but only because it would please the Jews. Herod could not accept the fact that Peter had escaped, and so in frustration, he executed the guards. But, his mistakes did not stop there. His final mistake was accepting praise for himself which should have been given to God. Herod’s life illustrates that weak people’s actions are based upon the opinions of others; they refuse to accept responsibility for their actions and accept credit for what others have done. Are you like Herod, motivated by what pleases God or by pleasing men? Do you give credit where it belongs or take it for yourself? Do either of these characteristics describe your life? If so, ask God to remove them from your life.
In what areas do you care more about what pleases others than about what pleases God?
Do you hear the truth but refuse to listen to it because it may make you look bad?
Are you taking credit for something someone else is doing?
How can you begin to turn those areas into strengths and not feed your weaknesses?