Sunday Nov 27, 2022

Acts 12:11

Sunday, 27 November 2022

 

And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.” Acts 12:11

 

Peter was just led out of the prison, through the iron gate, and down one street. At that time, the angel departed from him. It now says, “And when Peter had come to himself.”

 

The meaning is clear. Peter was overcome by the events that occurred. From being roused from sleep to being delivered all the way out of the prison was probably a matter of mere minutes. During the whole process, he did not have time to consider what was happening, but just rushed on through one stage of the process after another, obediently following the directives of the angel.

 

Now, with the angel gone, he will have to think for himself. That has caused his mind to stop racing and he can finally think about each step that has occurred and what he is to do next. With that state of mind now attained, “he said, ‘Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel.’”

 

As if in a dream, he participated in the events from the time of his waking until now, but – at least mentally – he really wasn’t an active participant. Rather, he was being led while in the groggy state of having just arisen. As this was so, the idea of an angel leading him was more like the reflection of a person while dreaming. He now realizes, though, that this was a real angel and the events he participated in really came about. That is seen in his next words, saying “and has delivered me from the hand of Herod.”

 

This is what was preeminent on his mind even while sleeping. The thought of waking and facing the trial was what he fell asleep to, and it is what his mind probably tried to process, even during his slumber. Even if he felt he would be freed from actual execution because of the promise of Jesus from John 21 that he would die as an old man, he would still have to go through the events of the trial for that to happen.

 

But no trial would take place now. He was delivered from the hands of Herod, “and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.”

 

The meaning of this is certainly not “all the Jewish people.” Rather, it refers to those who were opposed to the work of the apostles, especially the leadership who had rejected the message of Christ from the beginning. That is seen in the opening words of chapter 12 –

 

“Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread.” Acts 12:1-3

 

They hated the message of the apostles, they were pleased to see it start coming to an end through the death of James, and they were looking forward to more blood for the message to finally be ended. To them, the death of Peter would be a great step in this process.

 

Life application: One can see in the words of this verse the personal nature of things that could only have been relayed to Luke by Peter himself. The knowledge of how he felt as the events unfolded was known to him alone. Thus, what is recorded here can be taken as personal eyewitness. As far as Peter could be considered reliable, the narrative here must be considered equally so.

 

And yet, Paul says that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God. This is a remarkable aspect of Scripture. Luke investigated and interviewed. He checked and he verified. He noted and he composed. And yet, through all of that, we have a word that was divinely inspired by God. Everything that Luke did to compose the book of Acts was a part of the process of bringing us this word.


And this is true with all Scripture. The things that occurred and the process of compiling each book was all considered by God to bring about this wonderful treasure that we now hold in our hands. Let us consider this as we contemplate the marvel of God’s written revelation to us.

 

May we carefully consider this word. May we never be flippant or dismissive of what it conveys to us. Rather, let us treasure it in our hearts, contemplate its pages, and be willing to share its message with all who come to learn of its sacred contents.

 

Glorious God, thank You for Your precious and sacred word. What an honor and a joy it is to consider it and to treasure it in our lives. It is the word that tells us of Jesus. Thank You that we possess the very words of life in the pages of Your holy Bible. Amen.

 

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