Summary: James is killed; Peter is set free.
A Tale of Two Apostles
Acts 12:1 – 12:19
Jeff Hughes – August 17, 2003
Calvary Chapel Aggieland
a. Have you ever been in a situation that you though was completely hopeless, just to have something happen to turn things around? God has a unique way of bringing hope to hopeless situations.
b. Peter would later write in 1st Peter chapter 1, verse 13. He says rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
c. As I read this passage this week, I got some insight into Peter’s hope, and I trust you will too.
d. Last week, we saw Saul and Barnabas leave their growing church at Antioch to deliver some much needed aid to the church at Jerusalem. We aren’t told how this gift is received, or the events of Barnabas and Saul returning to Jerusalem from the mission field.
e. We are told of the trials and tribulation that the church is going through at Jerusalem about this time. God delivers one man from danger, but another isn’t.
f. How does God make the choice? Why does God make the choice? Was one man more valuable than the other? Did God love the man He delivers more? These are some of the questions that had to have gone through the minds of the church at Jerusalem at the time.
g. One thing is certain. We may never know why God chooses to do one thing and not another. We do know that He is sovereign, He is still on the throne, and He is completely aware of what was going on, and He was completely aware of what was going to happen. Nothing in our passage today took God by surprise.
h. Sometimes we have to trust Him, despite the circumstances. We will look at a man today who does just that. But before we dive into our teaching, let’s go before the Lord and ask His blessing this morning.
a. The story is told of a former world chess champion player who was taken by a friend to see a picture which had been hung in a famous art gallery, and which had attracted much interest. The artist had portrayed a young man sitting despairingly at a chessboard, while opposite him sat Satan with a look of malicious triumph on his face. The title of the picture was a single expressive word: "Checkmated". For a long time the champion player stood before the picture, his brow furrowed by concentration. Suddenly his voice rang out in the art gallery: "Bring me a chessboard. I can save him yet!" Sure enough, the mastermind had discovered the way out. And just as surely Christ can give victory to the person who will trust him implicitly. Naturally speaking, there may not seem to be a way out, but never limit God for he’s the supply of our comfort.
b. Like the young man in the painting playing a losing game of chess to Satan, the apostle Peter looks like he is playing a losing battle to the enemy. He doesn’t come directly at Peter, though.
c. As we will see today, the players in this game are other men. Granted, they are politically powerful men. There is also no doubt that they were under the influence of the enemy, as He reached out to take a swipe at the early church.