Monday, October 22, 2018

Unceasing Prayer Worked for Peter

Acts 12 contains one of my favorite stories in the New Testament. 

The church in Judea was in need of financial assistance. When the church in Antioch heard about it, they collected an offering and sent it by the hands of Saul and Barnabas. While they were on their way to Jerusalem, Herod Agrippa, wanting to please certain Jews, attacked the church. First, James, a son of Zebedee and brother of John, was killed. After that, Peter was arrested and put in a prison. His death was scheduled after the Passover celebration. 

Then we read that the church offered “unceasing prayer” for Peter. In answer to their prayers, an angel visited Peter and released Him. He then went to the house where the prayer meeting was taking place. 

Interestingly, their prayers had a two-pronged effect. Peter was released and Herod was removed from the picture. Right after Peter was delivered, we read the account of Herod’s death.

Herod left Jerusalem after the Passover and returned to his hometown of Caesarea. Soon after his arrival, there was a celebration honoring the current Caesar, Claudius (Josephus, Antiquities 19:8:2). He was angry with the province of Tyre and Sidon. They sent emissaries to get an audience with Herod during the time of celebration. 

One particular day, Herod, adorned in a royal robe, addressed the people. They people cried out that they had heard the voice of a god, not a man. Herod didn’t refuse their worship. He seemed to take satisfaction in their praise of him. Not good!

According to Scripture, God struck him down, he was eaten by worms and died (Acts 12.19-23]. Josephus records that Herod got horrible stomach pains, and died a just few days later.

The next verse is a powerful one: “But the word of God grew and multiplied” [12.24]. I’d say the unceasing prayer of the church really worked. How about you?

You never know how God is going to answer your prayers when it comes to the enemies of the church and deliverance of oppressed Christians. He may choose to kill them, as He did Herod. Or He may choose to save them as He did Saul of Tarsus. 

Either way, the Gospel multiplies!

Peter was therefore kept in prison, but unceasing prayer was offered to God for him by the church. Acts 12.5

No comments:

Post a Comment