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Saturday, 19 November 2011

Day 324: Peter’s deliverance

More from James, then back to Peter and Paul.
Evils that cripple true faith
James 4:1-17
Rich oppressors denounced
James 5:1-6
Exhortation to patience
James 5:7-12
Encouragement to prayer and confessing of faults
James 5:13-20
Peter again imprisoned and freed
Acts 12:3-17
Herod’s rage
Acts 12:18-19
Death of Herod
Acts 12:20-23
Paul’s first missionary journey AD45-47
Paul and Barnabas set out
Acts 12:24-25, 13:1-3
The preach in Cyprus
Acts 13:4-12
John leaves
Acts 13:13

James fiercely insists that relying on worldly wealth will lead to disaster, and only God can save. He wants people to stand firm in their faith, even in the teeth of intense opposition and persecution. Remember Elijah? Be like him.
I wonder if Peter thought of Elijah, as he was carted off to prison yet again. Like General Galtieri invading the Falkland Islands, Herod has found a way to be popular with his people - hit the Christians. Unfortunately for him, Peter is more of a slippery target than James. Miraculously freed by an angel, Peter has to persuade his friends that their prayers have been answered, and that he is really there, knocking on their door! Herod meanwhile comes to an unpleasant end - puffed up with pride, he dies at the height of his presumption. Did he have a heart attack or was he struck down by God? Who cares?
Meanwhile the church in Antioch is beginning to look beyond itself. There is a world out there, thronging with people who don’t know anything about the Jewish carpenter who died to save them. Paul and Barnabas are chosen to start telling them about him. They take young John Mark with them (later to be famous for writing his gospel) but he finds the going too tough and leaves after a while.

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