About that time King Herod had some members of the church arrested to
He had James, the brother of John, beheaded.When
he saw that this pleased the Jews, he arrested Peter also. It was during the
days of Unleavened Bread.
He had Peter seized and put in prison
with four squads of four soldiers each to guard him. He intended to bring him out
for a trial before the people after the Passover.While Peter was kept in prison, the
church was earnestly praying to God for him.
The very night before Herod was about to bring him out for trial, Peter was
sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains. Guards at the door
were keeping watch over the prison.
Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared
and a light shone in the cell. The angel struck Peter on the side to wake him up and said, “Stand up quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands.The angel
said to him, “Put on your belt and your sandals.” He did so. The angel then
said, “Put on your cloak and follow me.”Peter went out following him. He
did not know that what the angel was doing was real, but thought he was
seeing a vision.
When they were past the first and second guard posts, they came
to the iron gate which leads out to the city. It opened automatically. They went out and down one street, and immediately the angel left him.When
Peter had come to his senses, he said, “Now I truly understand that the lord
has sent his angel and delivered me from Herod’s hand, and from everything
that the Jewish people were expecting.”
Realizing that, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where
many had gathered and were praying.When Peter knocked at the gate, a
servant girl named Rhoda came.
When she recognized Peter’s voice, she did
not open the gate for sheer joy, but ran in and reported that Peter was
standing at the gate.They said to her, “You must be crazy!” But she insisted
that it was Peter. They said, “It must be his angel.”
16 But Peter continued
knocking. When they opened the gate and saw him they were astonished.
17 He gestured to them with his hand to be silent, and described to them how
the lord had brought him out of the prison. “Pass on this news to James and
the brothers,” he said. Then he left and went to another place. 18 As soon as it was day, there was great agitation among the soldiers over
what could have become of Peter.
19 When Herod had a search made for him
and did not find him, he questioned the guards and commanded that they be put to death. Then Herod went from Judea to Caesarea and stayed
there. 20 Now Herod was enraged with the people of Tyre and Sidon. They came
in a united body to him, and having won over Blastus, the king’s personal
aide, they asked for a reconciliation because their region depended on the king’s region
for food. 21 On an appointed day, Herod, dressed in his royal clothing, sat on
his judgment seat and began giving a speech to them.
22 But the crowd kept shouting,
“The voice of a god and not of a man!”
23 And immediately an angel of the
Lord struck Herod down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was
eaten by worms and died. 24 But the Gospel-word of God continued to grow and multiply.
 25 Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had completed their service, taking along with them John, who was also called Mark.
The Jewish idea was that each person had a personal guardian angel.
Repeating the illuminating pattern of Acts 8:12 which shows the constant stress on the Gospel
of the Kingdom of God as preached originally by Jesus (Mk. 1:14-15; Lk. 4:43; Heb. 2:3) and then by
Paul (Acts 19:8; 20:24-25; 28:23, 31). By believing the Gospel of the Kingdom we respond in
obedience to Jesus’ primary, summary command in Mark 1:14-15.