This chapter starts out with a king named Herod who was arresting Christians. This is most likely a descendant of Herod the Great, who was mentioned in Luke 1:5. Herod was called a king but he was more of a local governor under Roman authority. As we see with James, he had the power to give the death sentence. Herod received the attention he wanted, so he arrested Peter with intentions to do the same to him.
Things go differently with Peter though. Even though James has just been killed and Peter is about to receive the same sentence, there are a few humorous aspects to this chapter:
- In verse 7, as the angel appears in the jail cell, Peter remains asleep. To wake Peter the angel has to “strike” him. That angel straight up slaps Peter across the face as says, “Boy, get up and put on your britches.”
- In verse 14, when Peter go to Mark’s house after being freed from jail, Rhoda answers the door. But she is so excited that she tells the whole house while forgetting to let Peter in.
The chapter ends with Herod being struck dead by God. Apparently he was unwilling to give praise to God and was killed for this reason. It may be that Herod knew God but had become selfish and desired greatness for himself more than giving credit to God.
The disciples who lived immediately after Jesus’ death dealt with persecution and the reality of being killed for their faith. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what you would do in their place. How would you feel? Who would you trust? Would you spread Jesus’ message like he told us to in Mark 16:15?
- Written for Verve by Mike Zimmerman