TEXT: Acts 12:1-5
As we return to this passage, we find the church at a critical moment. They are facing the specter of a new wave of persecution that has become all too real. James, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, has been killed. Herod the king has found that this pleases one of his major constituencies, the Jews, so he has decided to make it a new policy of his administration. He has followed through by arresting Peter, who was at this time the most high profile of Jesus’ disciples. But Herod wanted to make a spectacle of Peter’s death, so he decided to wait until after the Passover to have him crucified. Herod delivered Peter into the hands of 16 Roman soldiers who took turns watching over him in prison in a rotation of four-man squads. Herod thought he had the situation under control. He had Peter on lockdown; he had these Jesus-followers going underground. But that was Herod’s big mistake. His delay, if you will, gave God’s people room to work in prayer to God for him.