Friday, April 20, 2012

Acts 12:18-19

Summary retelling of Acts 12:18-19

Day comes, and the soldiers are confused as to what happened to Peter.  Herod does a thorough search for Peter and cannot find him.  Herod interrogates the guards and orders that they should be put to death.  He leaves Jerusalem and goes to Caesarea.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
The soldiers are confused because Peter is gone.  Peter slipped by the guards who were chained to him and Peter slipped by the guards who were supposed to be at the door.  This helps us understand that the event was truly supernatural.  We could imagine peter slipping by 1 guard.  But 4?  We could even imagine one guard falling asleep at their post, but all 4?  No, this is a supernatural event where God took Peter’s escape into His hands.

How ready are you willing to let God take control of your life?

Second Thought:
There was a rule in the Roman military that if you guarded a prisoner and that prisoner escaped, you took the same punishment as the prisoner.  Thus, Herod was “justified” (by human law, of course) in killing the soldiers.  It also explains why there was some panic among the guards when they couldn’t find Peter.  But unfortunately for us it opens up a completely secondary question: does this mean that God cared more about the life of Peter than those 4 Gentile guards?  The answer is that we cannot think about it on a human perspective like this.  All have sinned, and all will eventually stand before God in judgment.  Every single one of us will die – the timing of our death is actually insignificant in the grand scheme of things.  What is more important is that we all have the ability to come humbly before God – some choose to do so and some choose not.  We may not be responsible for when we die, but we are always responsible for our relationship with God when we die.

Here’s a blunt question: are you ready to stand before God right now?  If not, what do you need to do to get ready?

Third Thought:
Herod leaves Jerusalem.  He likely leaves out of disgust.  He had been planning on Peter’s death raising his popularity, and instead he has to death with the shame of disappointing the crowds who had no doubt heard Herod’s promise of Peter’s death.  Perhaps even worse, he leaves Jerusalem to deal with the disappointment on their own.  Things go south, so he runs away.

How does this perspective illustrate humanity’s ability to “do the hard stuff?”  How many strong people do you really know in life – people who have the guts to make the hard choice and stick with it in spite of the consequences being difficult?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 12:20-25
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