Saturday, August 27, 2022

2022.08.27 Hopewell @Home ▫ Acts 12:1–24

Read Acts 12:1–24

Questions from the Scripture text: Who did what at this time (Acts 12:1)? What did he do to whom, how, in Acts 12:2? What did he see (Acts 12:3)? So what else did he do? When? Where did he put him (Acts 12:4)? To whom did he deliver him? What did he intend? Who else was doing what for Peter (Acts 12:5)? To Whom? What was Herod about to do in Acts 12:6? What was Peter doing? With whom and where? Who did what in Acts 12:7? What else appeared? What did the angel do to Peter? What did he say? What happened? What sorts of instructions does the angel give him in Acts 12:8? Where does Peter go in Acts 12:9? What doesn’t he know? What did he think? Where have they passed in Acts 12:10? To what do they come? What does it do? Where do they go? Then what does the angel do? What happens to Peter in Acts 12:11? What does he conclude has happened? From what has the Lord delivered him? To where does he come in Acts 12:12? What was going on there? What does Peter do in Acts 12:13? Who answers? What does she recognize (Acts 12:14)? What doesn’t she do? Why? What does she do instead? How do the prayer participants respond (Acts 12:15)? To what do they change their mind when she won’t budge? What is Peter still doing (Acts 12:16)? How do those who were praying for him respond to his deliverance? What does he do/say in Acts 12:17? Whom does he tell them to tell? What does he do? What time of day is it in Acts 12:18? What happens? Who looks for him in Acts 12:19? With what result? What does he do then? And where does he go? How have things been recently between him and the people just north of this city (Acts 12:20)? What do they do? Whom have they enlisted? For what do they ask? Why? Who does what, when, in Acts 12:21? What do the people keep doing (Acts 12:22)? Who does what in Acts 12:23? Why? What happens to him first? Second? But what happens to what in Acts 12:24?

Who is the real God, in real control? Acts 12:1–24 looks forward to the morning sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these twenty-four verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the Lord Jesus rules and overrules all things as God, for the spread of His Word. 

How much we who pray to God need to know the sovereign rule and almighty power of the God to Whom we pray!

The Jews manipulate Herod by the pressure of what pleases them (Acts 12:3, end of Acts 12:11). Herod ruthlessly lords it over the local military (Acts 12:19) and economy (end of Acts 12:20). The people of Tyre and Sidon manipulate Herod by politics (middle of verse 20) and flattery (Acts 12:22). But it is God Who is in control.

This should be great comfort for the Zebedee family (Acts 12:2). If Herod executes James, it is not because the Lord could not have delivered him as He did Peter. It is in the same loving purpose and sovereign rule.

But Peter himself doesn’t even consider that the Lord could/would do this. To be sure, he is comfortable suffering for the Lord. The angel has to work hard just to rouse him out of his sound sleep on what was to be his final night alive (Acts 12:7). And the groggy apostle has to be told to put his shoes and cloak on (Acts 12:8). He still thinks it’s a vision until the angel disappears, and he’s standing out in the open street (Acts 12:11). And of course, the very people who are praying—ostensibly because they think that God could and would do something—are quite persistent in refusing to believe that their prayer has been answered (Acts 12:15) and then still astonished when they are proven wrong (Acts 12:16).

But it is the Lord Jesus Who is God. It is the Lord whom Peter knows to have sent the angel to deliver him in Acts 12:11. And it is the Lord Whom Peter says to tell James (the brother of the Lord! cf. Galatians 1:19) has brought him out of prison (Acts 12:17) by that angel. Yet, when those who are not God get glory, they are deserving of things like maggots beginning to eat them from the inside out even before they expire (end of Acts 12:23). 

The Lord Jesus is God Who rules all things. Arrogant tyrants expire (verse 23), but Jesus’s divine Word grows and multiplies (Acts 12:24). He is the One in Whom we should trust. He is the One to Whom we should believingly and expectantly pray. And He is the One to Whom we must give all the glory!

Why do unbelievers need to know and accept that Jesus is God? Why do you need to remember that Jesus is God? How are you (or should you be) responding to Him as God? 

Sample prayer:  Lord Jesus, deliver us or do with us whatever is necessary to show Your divine glory. Make Your Word to grow and multiply, and grant that we would always pray to You and give you glory, we ask in Your own almighty Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP110B “The LORD Has Spoken to My Lord” or TPH270 “At the Name of Jesus” 

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