THE ARREST OF PETER
THE HISTORY OF THE RULERS
∗ King Herod Agrippa I was the grandson of Herod the great and a nephew of Herod (Antipas), who had killed John the Baptist. King Herod Agrippa ruled Judea in Jerusalem. He was not in good terms with Rome.
∗ As a hedge against shaky relationship with Rome, he wanted to patch it up by persecuting Christians.
PERSECUTION OF THE APOSTLES
∗ James, the brother of John was the first one to be persecuted with the false accusation of leading the people to follow false gods and it pleased the Jews.
∗ It was the week of the feast of unleavened bread or Passover. It was one of the three festivals that the Jewish males were expected to attend. During the Passover, Jerusalem’s population swelled over with men loyal to the history and traditions.
∗ When Herod’s popularity among the Jewish rose, he wanted to improve his status further.
∗ Herod arrested Peter, the leading apostle and imprisoned him. He knew that Peter was the perfect target for his ongoing popularity.
∗ Herod was looking for worldly popularity, where as Peter was working for divine righteousness.
PRAYER FOR PETER’S DELIVERANCE AND PETER’S CONFIDENCE
∗ Usually prisoners’ left hand was chained to a guard. Peter was chained to guards at both hands.
∗ Despite the very threat to his life, Peter slept soundly. It’s an indication of his lack of fear and worry.
∗ Perhaps, Peter had his confidence in Jesus’ previous prediction that he grow to be an old man. “ Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.”(John 21: 18)
THE APPEARANCE OF THE ANGEL TO PETER
∗ Peter’s rescue was so unlikely that at first he didn’t know that it was actually happening or if he was having another vision.
∗ The angel of the Lord took him out of prison, in spite of all security.
∗ It was a comedy that he was not accepted by the people even though, the church was praying for his release, for they found it hard to believe, when Peter appeared in front of the people.
∗ The servant girl was too excited to open the doors.
∗ Meanwhile Peter kept on knocking at the door.
PEOPLE’S FAITH AND THE ASSUMPTION
“Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” (Partially based on Matthew 8: 10) The prayers of the churches and the people were heard by God and were answered. Such was the faith of the people.
1. ……..the people thought that it was Peter’s angel.
2. ……..Peter must have come as an angel or a messenger for the angel means either angel or messenger in Greek.
3. ……and Peter must have been killed by Herod and it’s his spirit which was shown to them.
HEROD’S TRAGIC END
∗ Herod discovered that Peter was gone. He assumed that Peter could have escaped from the prison through the co-operation of the guards or the the negligence of the guards.
∗ Later when he appeared in the outdoor theatre on the festival day, attired in silver robe that gleamed in the sunshine, the people flattered him to the extend that he was God and he was proud of the peoples ‘ flattery and didn’t correct them.
∗ He was immediately struck with severe stomach pain and was carried out of the theatre. ∗He died tragically.
∗ It was a sad demise.
∗ In the meantime, the church was growing in numbers and the ministry was thriving among the people.
∗ In order to strengthen the relationship, people try to patch up with the unrighteousness, as King Herod’s shaky relationship with Rome, was strengthened by persecuting Christians.
∗ People are looking for worldly popularity at the cost of others. King Herod wanted to gain more popularity by arresting Peter and killing him because he was the perfect target. But Peter was working for divine righteousness.
∗ But the tragic end declares that the truth will set us free. He didn’t correct the people who claimed him as God, looking at his glamorous attire. In turn he was proud of himself and had to face a tragic end.
∗ God’s people have the confidence even, when they walk through the shadow of death, for Peter was sleeping soundly in the prison.
∗ Joint venture of prayers releases the people from the darkest shadow of death for Peter was released from the prison in a miraculous manner by the grace of the Almighty.
But the saddest part …..
∗ Even though the people and the church prayed in faith with one accord for the release of Peter, they couldn’t believe when Peter knocked at the door!
Of course later they believed in God’s miracle.
Lord, let the evil be condemned and the goodness be multiplied. Amen.
Glory be to God