Herod Agrippa Hurts the Church
1During that same time King Herod began to mistreat some who belonged to the church. 2He ordered James, the brother of John, to be killed by the sword. 3Herod saw that some of the people liked this, so he decided to arrest Peter, too. (This happened during the time of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.)
4After Herod arrested Peter, he put him in jail and handed him over to be guarded by sixteen soldiers. Herod planned to bring Peter before the people for trial after the Passover Feast. 5So Peter was kept in jail, but the church prayed earnestly to God for him.
Peter Leaves the Jail
6The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains. Other soldiers were guarding the door of the jail. 7Suddenly, an angel of the Lord stood there, and a light shined in the cell. The angel struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Hurry! Get up!” the angel said. And the chains fell off Peter’s hands. 8Then the angel told him, “Get dressed and put on your sandals.” And Peter did. Then the angel said, “Put on your coat and follow me.” 9So Peter followed him out, but he did not know if what the angel was doing was real; he thought he might be seeing a vision. 10They went past the first and second guards and came to the iron gate that separated them from the city. The gate opened by itself for them, and they went through it. When they had walked down one street, the angel suddenly left him.
11Then Peter realized what had happened. He thought, “Now I know that the Lord really sent his angel to me. He rescued me from Herod and from all the things the people thought would happen.”
12When he considered this, he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark. Many people were gathered there, praying. 13Peter knocked on the outside door, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer it. 14When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so happy she forgot to open the door. Instead, she ran inside and told the group, “Peter is at the door!”
15They said to her, “You are crazy!” But she kept on saying it was true, so they said, “It must be Peter’s angel.”
16Peter continued to knock, and when they opened the door, they saw him and were amazed. 17Peter made a sign with his hand to tell them to be quiet. He explained how the Lord led him out of the jail, and he said, “Tell James and the other believers what happened.” Then he left to go to another place.
18The next day the soldiers were very upset and wondered what had happened to Peter. 19Herod looked everywhere for him but could not find him. So he questioned the guards and ordered that they be killed.
The Death of Herod Agrippa
Later Herod moved from Judea and went to the city of Caesarea, where he stayed. 20Herod was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, but the people of those cities all came in a group to him. After convincing Blastus, the king’s personal servant, to be on their side, they asked Herod for peace, because their country got its food from his country.
21On a chosen day Herod put on his royal robes, sat on his throne, and made a speech to the people. 22They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not a human!” 23Because Herod did not give the glory to God, an angel of the Lord immediately caused him to become sick, and he was eaten by worms and died.
24God’s message continued to spread and reach people.
25After Barnabas and Saul finished their task in Jerusalem, they returned to Antioch, taking John Mark with them.