Herod Causes Trouble for the Church
1At that time King Herod[O] caused terrible suffering for some members of the church. 2He ordered soldiers to cut off the head of James, the brother of John. 3 When Herod saw that this pleased the Jewish people, he had Peter arrested during the Festival of Thin Bread. 4He
put Peter in jail and ordered four squads of soldiers to guard him.
Herod planned to put him on trial in public after the festival.
5While Peter was being kept in jail, the church never stopped praying to God for him.
Peter Is Rescued
night before Peter was to be put on trial, he was asleep and bound by
two chains. A soldier was guarding him on each side, and two other
soldiers were guarding the entrance to the jail. 7Suddenly
an angel from the Lord appeared, and light flashed around in the cell.
The angel poked Peter in the side and woke him up. Then he said, “Quick!
The chains fell off his hands, 8and
the angel said, “Get dressed and put on your sandals.” Peter did what
he was told. Then the angel said, “Now put on your coat and follow me.” 9Peter left with the angel, but he thought everything was only a dream. 10They
went past the two groups of soldiers, and when they came to the iron
gate to the city, it opened by itself. They went out and were going
along the street, when all at once the angel disappeared.
now realized what had happened, and he said, “I am certain that the
Lord sent his angel to rescue me from Herod and from everything the
Jewish leaders planned to do to me.” 12Then
Peter went to the house of Mary the mother of John whose other name was
Mark. Many of the Lord's followers had come together there and were
13Peter knocked on the gate, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer. 14When
she heard Peter's voice, she was too excited to open the gate. She ran
back into the house and said Peter was standing there.
15“You are crazy!” everyone told her. But she kept saying it was Peter. Then they said, “It must be his angel.”[P] 16But Peter kept on knocking, until finally they opened the gate. They saw him and were completely amazed.
17Peter motioned for them to keep quiet. Then he told how the Lord had led him out of jail. He also said, “Tell James[Q] and the others what has happened.” After that, he left and went somewhere else.
18The next morning the soldiers who had been on guard were terribly worried and wondered what had happened to Peter. 19Herod
ordered his own soldiers to search for him, but they could not find
him. Then he questioned the guards and had them put to death. After
this, Herod left Judea to stay in Caesarea for a while.
Herod and the people of Tyre and Sidon were very angry with each other.
But their country got its food supply from the region that he ruled. So
a group of them went to see Blastus, who was one of Herod's high
officials. They convinced Blastus that they wanted to make peace between their cities and Herod, 21and a day was set for them to meet with him.
Herod came dressed in his royal robes. He sat down on his throne and made a speech. 22The people shouted, “You speak more like a god than a man!” 23At
once an angel from the Lord struck him down because he took the honor
that belonged to God. Later, Herod was eaten by worms and died.
24God's message kept spreading. 25And after Barnabas and Saul had done the work they were sent to do, they went back to Jerusalem[R] with John, whose other name was Mark.
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