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The King Makes It Hard for the Church

12 At that time King Herod used his power to make it hard for the Christians in the church. He killed James, the brother of John, with a sword. When he saw that it made the Jews happy, he took hold of Peter also. This was during the special religious gathering to remember how the Jews left Egypt. Herod took Peter and put him in prison and had sixteen soldiers watch him. After the special religious gathering was over, he planned to bring Peter out to the people.

Peter Goes Free

So Peter was held in prison. But the church kept praying to God for him. The night before Herod was to bring him out for his trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers. He was tied with two chains. Soldiers stood by the door and watched the prison.

All at once an angel of the Lord was seen standing beside him. A light shone in the building. The angel hit Peter on the side and said, “Get up!” Then the chains fell off his hands. The angel said, “Put on your belt and shoes!” He did. The angel said to Peter, “Put on your coat and follow me.” Peter followed him out. He was not sure what was happening as the angel helped him. He thought it was a dream.

10 They passed one soldier, then another one. They came to the big iron door that leads to the city and it opened by itself and they went through. As soon as they had gone up one street, the angel left him.

The Christians Find It Hard to Believe Peter Is Free

11 As Peter began to see what was happening, he said to himself, “Now I am sure the Lord has sent His angel and has taken me out of the hands of Herod. He has taken me also from all the things the Jews wanted to do to me.” 12 After thinking about all this, he went to Mary’s house. She was the mother of John Mark. Many Christians were gathered there praying.

13 When Peter knocked at the gate, a girl named Rhoda went to see who it was. 14 She knew Peter’s voice, but in her joy she forgot to open the gate. She ran in and told them that Peter was standing outside the gate.

15 They said to her, “You are crazy.” But she said again that it was so. They kept saying, “It is his angel.” 16 Peter kept knocking. When they opened the gate and saw him, they were surprised and wondered about it. 17 He raised his hand and told them not to talk but to listen to him. He told them how the Lord had brought him out of prison. He said, “Tell all these things to James and to the other Christian brothers.” Then he went to another place.

The Death of Herod

18 In the morning the soldiers were very troubled about what had happened to Peter. 19 Herod looked for him but could not find him. He asked the soldiers who watched the prison about Peter. Herod said that the soldiers must be killed because Peter got away. Then Herod went down from the country of Judea to the city of Caesarea to stay for awhile.

20 Herod was very angry with the people of the cities of Tyre and Sidon. They went to him and asked for peace to be made between them and the king. They asked this because their country got food from the king’s country. The people made friends with Blastus, the king’s helper. 21 A day was set aside. On that day Herod put on purple clothes a king wears. He sat on his throne and spoke to the people. 22 They all started to speak with a loud voice, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.” 23 The angel of the Lord knocked him down because he did not give honor to God. He was eaten by worms and died.

24 The Word of God was heard by many people and went into more places. 25 Saul and Barnabas went back to Jerusalem after they had finished their work. They took John Mark with them.

Peter’s Miraculous Escape From Prison

12 It was about this time that King Herod(A) arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John,(B) put to death with the sword.(C) When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews,(D) he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread.(E) After 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.(F)

So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.(G)

The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains,(H) and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel(I) of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.(J)

Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision.(K) 10 They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself,(L) and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.

11 Then Peter came to himself(M) and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me(N) from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”

12 When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark,(O) where many people had gathered and were praying.(P) 13 Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door.(Q) 14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed(R) she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!”

15 “You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.”(S)

16 But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. 17 Peter motioned with his hand(T) for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell James(U) and the other brothers and sisters(V) about this,” he said, and then he left for another place.

18 In the morning, there was no small commotion among the soldiers as to what had become of Peter. 19 After Herod had a thorough search made for him and did not find him, he cross-examined the guards and ordered that they be executed.(W)

Herod’s Death

Then Herod went from Judea to Caesarea(X) and stayed there. 20 He had been quarreling with the people of Tyre and Sidon;(Y) they now joined together and sought an audience with him. After securing the support of Blastus, a trusted personal servant of the king, they asked for peace, because they depended on the king’s country for their food supply.(Z)

21 On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. 22 They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.” 23 Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel(AA) of the Lord struck him down,(AB) and he was eaten by worms and died.

24 But the word of God(AC) continued to spread and flourish.(AD)

Barnabas and Saul Sent Off

25 When Barnabas(AE) and Saul had finished their mission,(AF) they returned from[a] Jerusalem, taking with them John, also called Mark.(AG)

Footnotes

  1. Acts 12:25 Some manuscripts to

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