We will tackle the whole of chapter 12
v1: Evil is not G-d’s will but He can use it and turn it for good.
v2: This is the Apostle James – the son of Zebedee (Matt 4:21-22)
(We are going to see later in Acts that there was another James -the brother of Yeshua- who led the church in Jerusalem)
v3: Remember that when it speaks of the Jews it is speaking of the leadership of the Jews and not all the Jewish people as a whole.
· Unleavened bread means bread without yeast in it. It reminds us of purity – a removal of that which is unclean (what makes believers unclean is our lack of belief) – see Lev 23:4-8
v4: Probably four soldiers per 6hrly shifts?
· One prisoner was released at Passover (like Barabbas had been – Matt 27:15-18) which could be a reason why Herod wanted to deal with Peter after Passover. Passover is the festival of redemption – being set free from bondage. Exodus 12
v6: Peter was at complete peace – sleeping before his trial and possible execution (what a changed man he is! If we doubted the resurrection all we need to do is see the profound change in Peters life before and after the death and resurrection of Messiah)
v7: “Struck” is normally a word used for striking a blow to someone in order to kill them. This shows us how soundly Peter was sleeping.
v8: Peter is told to get ready for service and for freedom.
v11: When Peter says “Now I know” he is not talking about theoretical knowledge but about experiential knowledge.
· There were those who wanted Peter to be put to death.
v12: The implication is that many people were gathered and were praying (earnestly, as verse 5 tells us) around the clock for Peter to be released.
v13: It was easier for Peter to get out of prison then for him to get into this house of prayer When G-d brings people out of bondage do we respond to what G-d is doing? Are we willing to accept these people as sent by G-d?
· Rhoda was probably a servant girl. She heard and she responded to Peter’s knocking.
v14: Now this was an answer to the prayers that they were praying… But notice their response
v15: Even though the church was praying fervently they did not believe deep down in their souls that G-d was going to answer their prayer.
v16: Astonishment is not a proper response to a fulfillment of our prayers and expectations. We should expect, with confidence, that G-d responds to those things that we pray for and when our prayers are answered our response should be thanksgiving.
v17: This James is now the other one we spoke of – the brother of Yeshua and leader of the church in Jerusalem.
v19: The guards were anti G-d and His will. Death (eternal) will always be the final consequence for those who choose to go against the purposes of G-d. It could be argued that they were
commanded to do it and would have lost their lives if they had refused. Better to lose your life doing the will of G-d then to lose it the way they did.
· Caesarea was the capital of the Roman empire in Israel.
v20: Tyre and Sidon were two Lebanese cities who depended on Israel for food.
v21: Just as G-d has His appointed festivals so too did Herod have his own appointed festival/feast day – probably honouring himself.
v22: The people praised Herod as if he was G-d.
v23: An angel appeared on G-d’s appointed day (Passover) and struck Peter for life. Here we see an angel of the L-rd appearing on Herod’s own appointed day and striking Herod – but this strike is to death.
v24: More and more people believed.
v25: Barnabas’ name is mentioned first – showing he was still in the leadership position at this time.
· Earlier, Barnabas had fetched Saul to help him in Antioch to strengthen the early believers (Jew and Gentile) That purpose or mission was completed as the believers are strengthened and are multiplying.