Text: Acts 12:1-24

I.         As a political maneuver, Herod began mistreating members of the church

            A.        He had James, the brother of John put to death

            B.        Seeing that it pleased the Jews, he also had Peter arrested.

                        1.         The arrest occurred during the feast of the Unleavened Bread (Passover)

                        2.         As a result, the death penalty had to be delayed.

                        3.         Meanwhile, he had four squads of guards (16 guards) watching over him

II.        While in prison, the church prayed for Peter

            A.        The night before Peter was to be brought out, Peter was sleeping while chain between two guards. There were also guards by the door

            B.        An angel appeared, knocked Peter in the side to awaken him

                        1.         He was instructed to get up and the chains fell off of him.

                        2.         He was told to get dressed and follow the angel

                        3.         He did so, not knowing if this was real or a dream

            C.        They walked past two sets of guards and when they approached the iron gate, it opened by itself and they walked out and down one street. There the angel left Peter.

            D.        Peter realized that this was no dream and that he had been rescued by God’s angel.

            E.        He went to Mary’s house, she being the mother of John. It was here that the church had gathered to pray.

                        1.         He knocked at the gate and a servant named Rhoda came to see who knocked.

                        2.         When she recognized Peter’s voice, she ran inside, forgetting to let Peter in.

                        3.         Those inside thought she was crazy or had seen a ghost

                        4.         Peter meanwhile continued to knock and was finally let in.

            F.        Peter quieted the crowd and told them what had happened.

                        1.         He asked that the message would be relayed to James and the brethren.

                        2.         Meanwhile, Peter was still a wanted man, so he left for a different place.

III.       The next morning brought a great disturbance in Herod’s palace.

            A.        Peter could not be found, and the soldiers could not explain what had happened.

            B.        Herod ordered the death of the guards instead.

            C.        Herod then traveled to Caesarea.

IV.      Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon.

            A.        A delegation came to make peace. There was a trade embargo and they depended on food from Judea. They convinced Herod’s chamberlain to their side and were granted an audience.

            B.        Herod met with the delegation in full apparel and gave a speech.

                        1.         Probably to flatter Herod, they cried out that he spoke as a god and not a man.

                        2.         Herod did not contradict the crowd.

            C.        As a result, God struck him immediately and he was eaten by worms.

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