Persecution and Deliverance
1Now at that time Herod the king seized some from Messiah’s community to do them harm.
2He had Jacob, John’s brother, put to death with the sword.
3Seeing it pleased the Judean leaders, he proceeded to capture Peter as well. This was during the Days of Matzah.
4After seizing him, he put him in prison, handing him over to four squads with four soldiers each to guard him. He was intending to bring him before the people after Passover.
5So Peter was kept in prison, but prayer for him was being offered fervently to God by Messiah’s community.
6Now that very night when Herod was about to bring him out, Peter was sleeping—bound with two chains between two soldiers, while guards before the gate were keeping watch over the prison.
7Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared, and a light shone in the cell. He poked Peter on the side and woke him up, saying, “Get up! Quick!” And the chains fell off his hands.
8Then the angel said to him, “Get dressed and put on your sandals,” and he did so. Then he tells him, “Put on your cloak and follow me.”
9Peter went out and kept following him—he didn’t know that what was happening with the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision.
10After they passed a first guard and a second, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them by itself. They went out and walked along a narrow street. Suddenly the angel left him.
11When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I know for real that the Lord has sent His angel and delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Judean people were expecting.”
12When he realized this, he went to the house of Miriam, the mother of John (also called Mark), where many were assembled together and praying.
13When he knocked on the door of the entrance gate, a maid named Rhoda came to answer.
14Although she recognized Peter’s voice, out of joy she did not open the gate but ran in and announced that Peter was standing in front of the gate.
15They said to her, “You’re crazy!” But she kept insisting it was so. But they were saying, “It is his angel.”
16But Peter kept on knocking. When they opened the gate, they saw him and were amazed!
17But he motioned with his hand for them to be silent, and he explained to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. He said, “Go tell these things to Jacob and the brothers.” Then he left and went to another place.
18When day came, there was no small commotion among the soldiers as to what had become of Peter.
19After Herod made a search for him and did not find him, he interrogated the guards and commanded that they be led away to execution. Then he went down from Judea and stayed in Caesarea.
Herod Gets His Due
20Now it happened that Herod was furious with the people of Tyre and Sidon. So they came to him, united. Having won over Blastus, the king’s personal aide, they began asking for peace—because their country was supplied with food from the king’s country.
21On an appointed day, Herod donned his royal robes and, taking his seat upon the throne, began to make a speech to them.
22The people were shouting, “The voice of a god and not a human!”
23Immediately, an angel of the Lord struck him down—because he did not give God the glory. And he was eaten by worms and died.
24But the word of God kept on growing and multiplying.
25And Barnabas and Saul returned to Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their service, taking along John (who was also called Mark).