Sunday, April 14, 2013

Acts 12 - Angels Watching Over Me

LINK: Acts 12

FYI: We are 90% of the way through and on the final 10% stretch of the Bible! WOOHOO!

BACKGROUND

Getting a Grip on Agrippa I



He was the grandson of Herod the Great, the ruler who killed the innocent boys two years old and younger because he was looking for Jesus (Matthew 2:1-18). He was appointed by the Roman emperor, Caligula, as governor over all of Palestine. He was a persecutor of the early believers because he wanted to be in favor with the Jews. He imprisoned Peter and had James put to death by the sword.  He died in A.D. 44 in Caesarea because he did not glorify God (12:23 and the Antiquities of the Jews 19.8.2 by Josephus). He was succeeded by Felix and Festus. Three of Herod's children will be mentioned later on in Acts: Drusilla, wife of Felix (24:24-26), Bernice (25:13, 23), and Herod Agrippa II (25:13-26:32) who ruled from A.D. 50-70. 


Which James was Slain?


The James that was slain was a son of Zebedee and Salome. He was also called one of the "sons of Thunder" because of his boldness. He was the elder brother of John and one of the twelve disciples. He was also called "James the greater." He was a fisherman and in partnership with Peter (Matthew 20:20; 27:56). He was one of the inner core of three among the twelve who was present at the transfiguration along with Peter and John (Matthew 17:1), raising of Jairus' daughter (Mark 5:37-43), and in the garden (14:33).  He was slain in fulfillment of the prophecy by Jesus in Mark 10:39. 


The other people named James in the New Testament are: 
  • the son of Alphaeus (Mark 3:18)
  • the father of Judas (not Iscariot; Luke 6:16)
  • the half-brother of the Lord (Gal. 1:19) and believed to be the author of the Epistle of James.
REFLECTION 


I could not resist posting this Amy Grant 80's music video to a song based on Acts 12 called "Angels Watching Over Me." The video quality is poor, but it is a fun blast from the past:





APPLICATION

But on a more serious note, please pray for those in prison for their faith. The Voice of the Martyrs website has a "Prison Alert" that has excellent fuel for prayer. 


PRAYER



Give us the courage to pray bold and faith-filled prayers for our brothers and sisters who are imprisoned for their faith throughout the world. Give them strength and courage and bold witness for You. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen. 
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