1It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. 2He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. 3When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. 4After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.
5So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
6The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. 7Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.
8Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. 9Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.
11Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”
Spoiler alert: Jesus wins.
Jesus will accomplish His purposes. He will continue to reach people through His church until one day He returns to fight one last battle, defeat Satan, sin, and death for all time, and to usher in a perfect eternity where everything is made new.
You and I can’t stop it. Soldiers, chains, and jail cells can’t stop it. Empires, wars, persecution, and death can’t stop it.
Jesus will win.
Peter got a tiny glimpse of this. Peter knew that one day he would die for his faith in Jesus (Jesus had given him the heads up on this in John 21). My guess is, he thought this was the end. Herod was incredibly powerful. He had already killed James. The guards would be killed if they let Peter go and if one chain wasn’t enough they went ahead and bound him with two. So what happens to Peter? Nothing. Jesus says, “Not yet.”
Thought for Today: Jesus will fulfill His purposes. Will you join Him? He invites us to be a part of His team and to help people meet, know, and follow Him. And here is the promise: His team is going to win.
Today’s Prayer: Jesus, use me to accomplish your purposes. I want to serve You by serving others. Use me to help people meet, know and follow You. Amen.