Acts  ◦   Chapter 12

1About this time, King Herod began persecuting those who partook of the Remedy and accepted Jesus.2He had John's brother James executed with a sword.3When he realized the political support he gained from the Jews for doing this, he had Peter arrested. (This happened during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.)4He had him imprisoned and guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod planned to make a public-show trial after the Passover.

5While Peter was confined in prison, the believers in Christ earnestly asked God to intervene in his behalf.

6The night before Herod was going to bring him out for the show trial, Peter was asleep, chained to two guards-one on either side, and two sentries guarded the door to his cell.7Suddenly, one of God's angels stood beside him, and the cell was flooded with brilliant light. He tapped Peter on his side and woke him up. He said to Peter, "Quickly, get up!" and the chains just fell off his wrists.

8The angel instructed him, "Get dressed, and don't forget your sandals." Peter immediately did as told. Then the angel said, "Put on your coat and follow me."9So Peter walked right behind the angel out of the prison, but he didn't know it was real. He thought he was dreaming.10They walked right past the first and second guards, and the guards didn't even see them. They came to the iron gate separating the prison from the city; it opened all by itself as they approached, and they quickly walked through it. When they had walked about another city block, the angel just disappeared.

11Then Peter realized it wasn't a dream and said to himself, "Wow, it's real! The Lord sent his angel and set me free from Herod's control, and delivered me from the abuse the Jews were hoping for."

12Having realized he was free, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many of his friends and supporters had gathered to ask God's intervention.13Peter knocked at the entrance to the courtyard, and one of the house servants, named Rhoda, came to the door.14She recognized Peter's voice and was so excited with joy that she forgot to let him in, and ran back shouting, "Peter is here! He's at the door!"

15"You're hysterical," they said, trying to calm her. But when she persisted, they said, "Well, perhaps she saw an angel and that's what has got her so excited?"

16But Peter continued knocking, and when they finally opened the door and saw that it really was him, they were at first stunned, but then began rejoicing.17Peter motioned with his hands for them to quiet down and then told them how the Lord rescued him from prison. He told them, "Be sure to let James and the other members of the Lord's spiritual health-care team know about this," and then he left town.

18The next morning, the prison guards were in a panic, frantically trying to find out what happened to Peter.19Herod had the prison searched from top to bottom, and after interrogating the guards, he had them executed. Then Herod left Judea and went to Caesarea where he stayed for a while.20He had been in a long-standing dispute with the residents of Tyre and Sidon, who had joined forces and — with the support of Blastus, one of Herod's trusted advisors — sought a negotiated peace with Herod, as he controlled their food supply.

21On the day of their scheduled appointment, Herod, dressed in royal garb, sat on his throne and delivered a speech to the people.22The people, seeking to flatter the king, shouted, "We have heard a god speak, not a man!"23Herod failed to glorify God, and instead–misrepresented God, therefore an angel of the Lord touched him; the reality of his worm-eaten condition was made plain for all to see, and he died.24But the Remedy of God continued to spread throughout the land.

25After Barnabas and Saul finished up their work in Jerusalem, they left and took John Mark with them.