Summary: In strife or in humorous situations, God is still in control.
SERIES: “LESSONS FROM THE EARLY CHURCH”
TEXT: ACTS 12:1-25
TITLE: “GOD’S DRAMEDY”
INTRODUCTION: A. Are you confused by the title of this message?
1. It’s probably because you’ve never heard the term dramedy
2. Dramedy is a term used in the entertainment field
a. Primarily used in film and television, it’s a combination of the words drama and
b. It’s used to describe a fairly new type of movie or television program, such as
M*A*S*H*, where the usual lines between drama and comedy are not so
--Drama and comedy are used together
B. I think that life is basically a dramedy – things that are humorous happen in the middle
of things that cause stress and tension.
1. In our passage tonight, we see things that cause worry and tension and in their midst
there are humorous events.
2. It’s important for us to understand that in the middle of everyday life, God is
a. He’s moving things toward completion
b. He’s doing things that give us help and sustenance
c. Whether life is drama, comedy, or a combination of both, we can trust that He’ll
be faithful to His promises.
--Acts 12:1-5 – “1It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending
to persecute them. 2He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. 3When he saw that this
pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
4After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers
each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover. 5So Peter was kept in prison, but
the church was earnestly praying to God for him.”
A. Herod Agrippa I
1. Grandson of Herod the Great
a. Ordered the death of all males under age of 2
b. Also killed several of his family members (including wives and sons) out of fear and jealousy
2. Nephew of Herod Antipas
--had John the Baptist beheaded
3. A cruel and wicked family
4. The Jews resented having an Idumean (Edomite) ruling over them
--Agrippa I persecuted the church to curry favor with the Jewish leadership
1. Brother of John
a. Sons of Zebedee
b. Nicknamed “sons of thunder”
c. One of Jesus’ closest companions along with Peter and his brother John
2. Arrested along with some other church members
--Executed for his stand as a Christian and as a leader in the church
3. Something interesting in Mt. 20:20-28
a. The mother of James and John asks Jesus if He could please honor her sons by making them His
most important assistants
--right and left hands
b. Vss. 20-22, the conversation goes like this: “"You don’t know what you are asking," Jesus said to
them. "Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?" "We can," they answered. 23Jesus said to them,
"You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places
belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father."”
c. Of course, James and John did not know what they were saying
--there is a high cost to a throne of glory
1). James arrested and executed (church tradition says by beheading)
2). John arrested and exiled to the Isle of Patmos
4. One interesting side note in James’ execution:
-- Eusebius, quoting Clement (of Rome, mentioned in Philippians and taught by the apostles), tells us
that the man who led James to the judgment seat, was so impressed by James’ bearing and by the
witness he bore to his faith that he became a Christian himself. Both of the men, therefore, were led
away to die. The new believer asked James to forgive him, which the great man readily did with a
kiss and a benediction.
1. When Herod Agrippa found out how much the Jewish leaders liked what he had done to James, he
figured he might as well take down another apostle as well
--So he has Peter arrested
2. Agrippa’s timing not very good with Peter because his arrest was at the start of the Feast of
Unleavened Bread which is part of the Passover celebration
--considered a Sabbath no matter what day it fell on
3. Agrippa put Peter under heavy guard
a. Four squads of four soldiers each squad to cover a six-hour period
b. Each squad have two soldiers chained to Peter and two watching the doors
D. Here’s the drama
1. What could have been more dramatic for the early church than to have James executed and Peter
arrested and under heavy guard?
2. Don’t you think the church was terrified and worried about what was going to happen next?