Acts 12 – promises and expectations

Acts 12

12:1 It was about this time 

       (~ A.D. 44 )

that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. 

       ( around Easter )


3x  – James, John, and Peter  eye witness events 

the raising of the daughter of Jairus from the dead (Mark 5:37-47), 

the transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-3), 

and Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-37).



Remember :

Author of mercy, grace, peace & Love is God

Author of guilt, unforgiveness, turmoil, & hatred, is Satan



Once, when he and his brother asked Jesus for the privilege of sitting beside him in glory, Jesus promised them only a share in his suffering (Mark 10:35–45). They were learning that the greatest calling of a servant of Jesus is to serve others. 

12:4 After 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.

       – Luke’s detail – (here squad, ruler, date/time , consequences of escape –  important! )

       – these details are important for retelling and for evaluation…..

So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.

The 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. Suddenly 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.

What does this tell us about Peters prison attitude…

     1) ? Exhausted from crying self to sleep?

     2) ? Sleeping like a baby ?

John 21:

 Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Matthew 6: 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?

Hebrews 13: 5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,

“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.”[a]

So we say with confidence,

“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?”[b]

How to you approach life’s difficulties, weight of uncertainty and trouble?

Then 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. 

Peter 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. 

10 They 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.

11 Then 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.”

12 When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. 

13 Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. 14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!”

15 “You’re out of your mind,” they told her. 

          1) Easter

          2) doubting Thomas

          3) here ….

When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.”

16 But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. 17 Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell James and the other brothers and sisters about this,” he said, and then he left for another place.

Apply :

      Why James?

      Why Peter…?

ILLUS : the red record. 

     “ the mighty serpent resolving that men and living things be destroyed…”

In spite of evil , God’s plan will not be thwarted:

     Come death and destruction, or life and rescue, unanswered  prayers or answered prayers… Very clear God is working out His plan for our ultimate benefit. 

Even Satan’s seeming victories are defeats… consider…




          Peter ….



Life is often difficult but here we learn…trust, obey, live w/ confidence

     Gave to us Jesus

         He is not going to give up on His investment!

God’s promise is certain!

     “I will never leave you or forsake you….” ( Deuteronomy 31:6 )