Acts 12:2 “…he killed James the brother of John with the sword”
James, one of the inner three who were closest to Christ. Apparently he was beheaded.
3 “…it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread”
Preceding the Passover. Has been at least a year since Jesus ascended. Thought the commentaries would say something about it, but they only specify that it was during the days just before the Passover. Herod apparently wanted to please a crowd, which would have been there for the Passover.
4 “…four squads of soldiers…”
Probably four quatrains, or four sets of four for a total of sixteen. Seems a bit much for a single person. But it didn’t matter whether it was sixteen or six thousand. If God wanted Peter free, he would be free regardless of his guard.
6 “…Herod was about to bring him out…”
God’s timing is perfect. He acted when He needed to.
7 “…he struck Peter on the side and raised him up…”
Seems comical to me. Peter asleep in prison, between two guards. Angel shows up with a bright light and has to hit Peter in the side to get him up. Yo, dude. Time to go. And then the chains just fall off.
9 “…thought he was seeing a vision”
Thought he was dreaming.
10 “…which opened to them of its own accord…”
Interesting that the angel didn’t open the gate physically. The gate opened on its own. Everything in creation is under God’s sovereignty. Everything obeys Him.
12 “…John whose surname was Mark…”
First mention of John Mark. Believed to be the one who wrote the gospel of Mark and who will start on a missionary journey with Paul and Barnabas only to return home. He later goes on another with Barnabas and is eventually considered by Paul to be an asset in the ministry.
12-15 “…many were gathered together praying…You are beside yourself!…”
Sounds about right. Praying for protection and release of Peter, yet completely surprised when it happens. Didn’t expect God to act. Perhaps that’s why we have such trouble with our prayers. We don’t really expect God to answer.
15 “…It is his angel”
Some commentaries ascribe this to them thinking it was his spirit or ghost, or anything other than him. Others suggest it was a reflection of a Jewish belief in guardian angels. The angel assigned to Peter had come on his behalf to deliver some message. Jesus Himself mentioned a warning to not despise young ones as their angels in heaven always see the face of the Father. Will be interesting to find out the truth someday.
17 “…tell these things to James…”
I would assume James the brother of Jesus, the writer of the book of James. It is thought he became the leader of the church in Jerusalem. Commentaries say there is debate on this. Could be James the less, the son of Alpheus, one of the Apostles. Obviously a James who was something of a leader who would need to know Peter was free.
19 “…he examined the guards and commanded that they should be put to death…”
Poor guards paid for Peter’s release with their lives. Was to be expected. To lose one’s charge would easily cost your life.
23 “…an angel of the Lord struck him…he was eaten by worms…”
Violent man had a horrible death.
24 “…word of God grew and multiplied”
Seems to be a comparison shown here between the power of man and that of God. We start the chapter speaking of Herod and how he tried to show his power and authority by his cruelty. Yet he wasn’t able to do anything which wasn’t allowed by God. He met his end in a horrible way while the true power, the word of God continued to grow and multiply. The Spirit of God has no limitations. His sovereignty is absolute.
25 “…they also took with them John whose surname was Mark”
John Mark goes to Antioch.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.