(1-5) James Killed and Peter Imprisoned
The early Christians turned to God when one of their own was in a situation that only God could work out. Prayer was not their last option after having tried one hundred and one other things that didn’t work. Prayer was their first option. After James’ murder and Peter’s imprisonment, the church immediately turned to God in prayer for help. When we find ourselves in dire situations, prayer should be the first thing that we do. It also happens to be the most powerful and important thing that we can do in any given moment.
(6-19) Peter Is Rescued
What if the church had not been praying for Peter? It is possible that God would not have sent an angel to rescue him from prison. John Wesley said, “God does nothing but in answer to prayer.” Even though God knows exactly what we need, when we need it, He wants us to make our requests known to Him, having faith that He will answer us. The people who were praying for Peter at Mary’s house had no idea what God was doing in answer to their prayers. Similarly, even when we cannot see results to our prayers, we must have faith that God hears us and is working on our behalf.
(20-25) The Death of Herod
Herod was responsible for the murder of James, the imprisonment of Peter, and many other acts of persecution against the early church. He had no respect for God and might have thought that he was indomitable, but this passage informs us that he was far from it. Herod died a mean death, while the word of God – which he had tried to stop while he was living – continued to increase and multiply. For a time it may seem that evil is unstoppable (from the many violent events taking place in our world today, that certainly seems like the case), but we must remember that good always outlasts evil – always.
Favorite verse: (24) But the word of God increased and multiplied.