Summary: Watch how the power of God moves in such a way that the early church can barely believe their eyes!
Detainment, Delivery, and Denial
Acts Chapter 12:1-16
We are continuing in the Book of Acts today – looking at chapter 12 where we are going to see a roller-coaster ride in the life of one Apostle Peter.
Really God is doing some amazing things in the life of His followers – the gospel is now going forth to the Gentiles, Paul has come to the knowledge of the truth, Christianity is gaining momentum, as we saw earlier:
Acts 11:25-26 25Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: 26And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
God is at work – training and teaching His people – building leadership to impact this world!
Just as we see throughout all history – as God begins working in one direction to accomplish His plan, Satan will seek to counteract and stop that plan from coming to fruition – thus, we come to chapter 12.
Lets begin our study of this chapter looking at:
1) THE DETAINMENT
Acts 12:1-5 1Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. 2And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 3And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) 4And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. 5Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
Satan had to do something to try and stop this locomotive – really, nothing like a public execution to seek to stifle a movement!
Satan is so completely predictable! Granted, he is incredibly crafty, deceitful, and powerful too – but he is also so predictable! Have you ever noticed how opposition came in the ministry of Christ?
Time and time again, after healing the blind, the lame, the leper, the one possessed with devils the scribes and Pharisees would come out to question what it was Jesus was doing – and accuse Him of blaspheme.
This is recorded no less than three times in Matthew:
Matthew 9:32-34 32As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. 33And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. 34But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.
Matthew 10:24-25 24The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. 25It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?
Matthew 12:22-24 22Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. 23And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? 24But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.
Key, pin-point attacks against the character of Christ – of who He was – Satan has not stopped these attacks – He still brings his arsenal against the body of Christ.
He targets leaders!
Who were the top three disciples closest to Christ?
(Invited to the transfiguration and raising of the 12 yr old damsel?)
PETER, JAMES, AND JOHN
Who do we see Satan target here? PETER AND JAMES
Acts 12:4 4And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.
James is dead – killed by Herod, and Peter is in prison – soon to join him!
This passage shows how incredibly much Satan hates the church of God – not only is Peter in prison, not only does he have sixteen trained Roman soldiers watching over him, in just a verse we are going to find him:
Acts 12:6 6And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.
Sleeping between two of these sixteen soldiers, bound with not one but – TWO chains – and keepers watching the door.
Peter is some dangerous kind of guy – TOP FIVE ON JERUSALEM’S MOST WANTED LIST!