Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Acts 12:6-25
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Acts 12:6
v6 (continued): The statement that Peter was sleeping shouldn’t be overlooked. On the night before he was to be beheaded we might expect him to be awake, filled with fear, but he was sound asleep. And he didn’t collapse into sleep out of exhaustion. In the customary way, he had loosed the belt around his waist, taken off his sandals and laid his outer coat aside or put it over him as a blanket. He was sleeping comfortably, which is profound evidence of his faith. Like Jesus sleeping in the boat during a storm (Mk 4:35-40), Peter was not afraid.

Monday: Acts 12:7-10
vs7-10: The appearance of the angel is told in delightful detail: “And behold, an angel of the Lord stood beside him and a light illuminated the cell. Patting Peter’s side, he awakened him saying, ‘Stand up quickly,’ and the chains fell off his hands. The angel said to him, ‘Tighten your belt and put on your sandals,’ and he did. Then he said to him, ‘Wrap your outer cloak around you and follow me.’ So he followed him out, but he didn’t know that what was happening through the angel was true, but he supposed he was seeing a vision. And going past the first and second guard posts they came up to the iron gate leading into the city which opened to them by itself, and going out they went forward one street, and immediately the angel left him.” (literal)

Tuesday: Acts 12:11, 12
v11: The angel led Peter out the gate and down one block to the first intersection and then disappeared. At that moment Peter finally awoke to the fact that he was out of jail, he had been delivered from Herod’s plan to execute him and “from all the Jewish people expected.” His death, which had seemed unavoidably certain just minutes earlier, was not going to take place that morning. v12: Before anyone could recognize him standing alone on a street corner in the middle of the night, he hurried to a house which had become a gathering place for the church in Jerusalem. It was probably in that same house that Jesus celebrated the last supper (MK 4:12-16; Lk 22:7-13) and the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost (Ac 1:12-15; 2:1, 2).

Wednesday: Acts 12:12
v12 (continued): It belonged to a woman named Mary who was the mother of a young man named John, who was also called Mark. She was either Barnabas’ sister or cousin, because later on Paul will describe the relationship between John Mark and Barnabas using a word for John Mark that means either nephew or cousin. This is the same young man Barnabas and Saul (Paul) would take along on their first missionary journey (Ac 13:5), and who served with Barnabas in Cyprus (Ac 15:39), and later on with Paul and Peter in Rome (2Ti 4:11; Phm 24; 1Pe 5:13). He is also the author of the Gospel of Mark. Luke says many were “crowded together” in that house praying.

Thursday: Acts 12:13-15
vs13-14: When Peter arrived he knocked on the outer courtyard door, and a servant girl named Rhoda came up to listen. She may have asked, “Who is it?” and when Peter replied she recognized his voice but, instead of opening the door, she became overwhelmed with joy and left him standing there while she ran inside to announce his arrival. v15: The response to Rhoda’s announcement was disbelief. They replied, “You’re talking like a crazy person!” When she continued to emphatically insist that Peter was at the door, they concluded she must have encountered “his angel,” which most likely meant they assumed he had been executed and his disembodied spirit had come to the house before it departed for heaven. Surely the purpose of this gathering of believers was to pray for Peter’s rescue, but when told that he was at the courtyard door, no one believed it.

Friday: Acts 12:16-19
vs16-17: Yet Peter kept knocking, and when they finally opened the door and saw him, they were “beside themselves” with amazement and joy. Everyone began saying something, probably shouting his name and giving thanks to God, but he motioned to them with his hand to be silent and then gave them a thorough, step-by-step account of how the Lord had led him out of prison. Then when he finished, he said, “Report these things to James and to the brothers,” and leaving the house “he went to another place,” presumably to hide from Herod. vs18-19: Luke now turns his attention back to the prison and to Herod. He says, “When it became day there was not a little confusion among the soldiers as to what had become of Peter. And Herod, searching for him, but not finding him, after questioning the guards, ordered them to be led away (to execution). And going down from Judea to Caesarea, he remained there.” (literal)

Saturday: Acts 12:20-25
v20: While in Caesarea, Herod Agrippa I collapsed during a speech to delegates from Phoenicia, and later died. For some reason he had become “bitterly angry toward the people of Tyre and Sidon, so they came to him united in purpose.” They befriended Blastus, Herod’s trusted servant who watched over him as he slept, and he helped them gain an audience so they could plead for peace. Their country depended on trade with Israel in order to maintain a sufficient supply of food but, apparently, Herod had suspended these imports by issuing a royal decree. vs21-23: On a day designated for some sort of special festival, Herod, dressed in royal clothing, sitting on the platform, delivered a public speech apparently haranguing the delegates from Phoenicia, but the common people in the crowd responded by crying out. “The voice of a god, not a man. And right after that an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give the glory to God. Later on, after being eaten by worms, he breathed out his last breath, and died.” v24: But the Word of the Lord (the gospel of Jesus Christ) continued to increase in influence and reputation, and to bring more and more people to salvation. v25: And Barnabas and Saul returned (to Antioch) from Jerusalem, having completed the ministry which they had been sent there to perform (Ac 11:29, 30), taking John Mark along with them.

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