Ever heard one of those good news and bad news conversations? Acts 12 has a bad news/good news scenario that makes me wonder.
Dr. Luke writes about the death of James, the Apostle, the brother of John, who was killed by the murderous Herod. The church was really starting to gain notice in the Middle East and persecution was ramping up. This was bad news.
But then comes good news. Peter got arrested also by Herod, which obviously isn’t the good news, but that night, under heavy guard some angels came along and opened the gate for him and released him from jail, a miracle and good news. He goes to the house, as many of us learned in Sunday School, where they were praying for him and they didn’t believe the servant girl named Rhoda who told them the good news that Peter is at the door. It can’t be they said, because we’re praying for him right now! (Did you ever fail to see an obvious answer to prayer because you were too busy not really believing that it was going to be answered in the way you’d like?)
So I wonder. Why does God permit Peter to escape Herod’s ire and not James? These are the types of questions that have perplexed believers and unbelievers alike for millenia. Job probably had the best response for us: The LORD gives and the LORD takes, blessed be the name of the LORD.
Just to muddy the waters a bit. If you keep reading Acts you’ll come to chapter 16 and now Paul and Silas are in jail. An earthquake throws open the gates, an obvious sign from God that the same angel is there to free them. And Paul and Silas, who were singing hymns at midnight stayed put. And a guard was saved after Paul uttered his famous line “Believe in the LORD Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Sorry for the KJV but that’s what I learned it in as a child and old habits die hard) Those words were spoken to me as a boy and were instrumental in my own commitment to Jesus. But I’m still not sure why Paul didn’t walk out when the precedent had been set by Peter.
Keep reading God’s Word and you too will discover new insights and observations that will impact your life and those around you!