GET ACQUAINTED: What is the most amazing thing you have ever seen God do?
SCRIPTURE: Acts 12:1-24
Open your time together with prayer. NOTE: This is only a guide! Feel free to select the points you want to discuss and adapt them to your needs.
Acts Chapter 12 tells the story of Peter being imprisoned by Herod Agrippa, who was the grandson of Herod the Great. Although he did not practice any type of religion, Agrippa was known for being a strict observer of Jewish ceremonies as well as his cruelty toward Christians.
He had killed James, the brother of John, who was one of the three apostles that was very dear to Jesus. This pleased the Jews who believed that Christians were subversive to Jewish traditions. Because Herod wanted to be popular among the people, he captured Peter and intended to have him killed as well.
Herod had a total of 16 soldiers taking shifts to guard Peter while he was in. There were four guards for every six hours. Two guards stood outside the cell and two were stood guard inside the cell with Peter, who was bound in chains.
As a group of people from the church prayed and fasted for Peter’s deliverance, an angel came and rescued him in the middle of the night. Immediately after he escaped, Peter went to the house of Mary, the mother of Mark. He knocked on the door and a young woman by the name of Rhoda came to the door and recognized Peter’s voice. After telling them what happened, Peter moved on to another place.
Herod was displeased by the news of Peter’s escape. He had the guards killed who were assigned to watch him. Later, Herod dressed himself in royal clothes and sat on his throne. He made a speech and was praised by idolatrous Gentiles who said it was the voice of a god, not man that was speaking. God smote him for not rebuking the words of flattery. After suffering for five days, Herod died. As news of this spread, God’s Word grew throughout the land.
- The Herod in this passage is the nephew of the Herod who ruled in Jesus’ day. What do you learn about his character in Acts12:20-23?
- Why would his decision to arrest (Acts 12:2-4 ) Peter please the Jewish leaders? Why do you think Herod, as a Roman official, would now join in the Jewish opposition to the church?
- When Rhoda announced who was at the door, what would you have said if you were the one at the door?
- How do you feel about the fact that God saved Peter but not James? In light of John 21:18-19 , how might Peter respond to the question?
- What worldly forces seem all-powerful to you? How, if at all does this affect your faith walk?
- What does this tell you about how Christians ought to deal with opposition and persecution? Are there any needed changes in your dealing with it?
Prayer of commitment: Father would you first of all forgive me for my unbelief? Forgive me for running to other things instead of immediately running to You. Father, I proclaim that I believe with all my heart and soul that You can deliver me anytime, from anything and from anyone. I affirm my belief in the ministry of angels. Father, I also proclaim that I believe in the power of prayer to bring those things to pass in my life. I thank You for Acts 12 , for the story of Peter’s liberation and for reminding me of my position and power as Your church. Would you help me in the future to tap into that power for Your glory. It’s in Jesus’ name that I pray, amen!