Acts 12 marks a historic turn for the expanding church. In the background two kingdoms are highlighted — man’s kingdom and God’s. Herod executes the apostle James and intends the same for Peter. Will Herod’s action squash the expansion? Will the church cower in fear? Facing a growing animosity, the church does what it does best. She gathers together and turns heavenward. The Lord responds by miraculously rescuing Peter which surprises both Peter and the assembly. The state is powerless to stop God’s intervention. Luke does not address why Peter is released and James is not. The final scene of Acts 12 might seem absurd until you consider the two kingdoms. Man whether he admits or not is subject to divine rule & authority. Increasingly, Herod yearns for power and prestige. Ultimately, his word fails where the word of the Lord increases and multiplies. The church then and readers today are given a glimpse of unstoppable glory. Neither man nor suffering can snuff out the light of the gospel.
Use these questions to read, reflect, and live out Acts 12 this week:
How does the church respond to crisis?
How does the Lord respond to the church?
How does the church respond to the Lord’s salvation?
How does Herod’s word differ from God’s word?
The Small Groups will study Acts 11 beginning September 9.