This chapter begins with the statement Herod the king laid violent hands on members of the church during this time frame. This is Herod Agrippa I, who was the grandson of Herod the Great. We know from history that he died in 44 A.D. so, considering the events of the latter part of the chapter, it is likely that all of this took place in that year. Verse 2 says that “he killed James the brother of John with the sword…”
The sriking thing about Luke’s account here is that this is all that he says about the murder of James. He was the brother of John (sons of Zebedee), and along with Peter, these three were obviously closer to Jesus than any of the other apostles. If the Bible were being written simply by men as a fictionally embellished account of Jesus Christ and His apostles, there is no way the death of James would get just 10 words. But James is not the focus of the gospel.
The text goes on to say that it pleased the Jews when Herod had this done. That would of course be the Jewish leaders, who already had deep animosity for the apostles. Seeing how the death of James pleased them, he had Peter arrested. This was during the Feast of Unleavened Bread; and Herod intended to bring Peter out after Passover and undoubtedly do the same with him as he had done with James.
eed. If one was simply writing a story rather than the word of God, one would certainly have more to say about the death of one of Jesus’ “inner circle,” James the son of Zebedee, than these few words. The rest of the verse states that “…when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also.” The Jewish religious leaders – certainly much of the Sanhedrin – would have been pleased to have gotten rid of one the twelve men who were so instrumental in proclaiming that Jesus was the risen Lord. This was during the Feast of Unleavened Bread; and Herod intended to bring Peter out after Passover and undoubtedly do the same with him as he had done with John’s brother.
But on evening before he was to be brought to Herod, an angel of the Lord came to Peter as he slept between two soldiers, made the chains fall off of him, led him past two guards and compelled the iron gate to open on its own, as they walked through. And then the angel left. Peter had been thinking that he was having another vision. But in verse 11, he realizes that the Lord had sent his angel to rescue him “from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”
(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here
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All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.