ACTS CHAPTER 12
Read verses 1-20 for context. We’ve read a lot during our recent online Bible studies about persecution and looked at a number of promises in Scripture of persecution for those who follow Jesus (e.g. 2 Tim 3:12, Phil 1:29; Heb 11:36 and others). But notice what Peter was doing in verse 6. Why do you think that was the case? Why is that important for us to think about, especially in light of things that are happening in America in particular and the world in general regarding the clash of secular and atheistic philosophies with true Christianity (e.g. based on Scripture and the teachings of the Church regarding faith and morals)?
(If you are Catholic, do you own a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church? Or, are you aware of the searchable Catechism at http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc.htm? I use the searchable site quite often to find the Church’s official teaching on any particular subject of faith and morals. Sometimes what people say the Church teaches, and what the Church actually does teach, are quite dissimilar).
What was the Church doing for Peter at this time? (verse 5) Notice the adverb (e.g. fervently) used. Why do you think the prayer group scoffed at Rhonda’s message? What do you think James’ parents might have thought after verse 17? What is the application for us in this illustration of martyrdom?
Do you remember this kind of miraculous escape from prison from 5:17-26? Where was it and what were the circumstances? What are the similarities? What does that suggest, especially in light of the passages (for example) in Heb 11:36ff, or here in Acts 12:2-3?
Now look at Luke 4:22-30. What lessons do you see in that passage that are applicable to this section of study in Acts 12? (can you see at least two?).
What do verses 15-16 suggest (note the wording in verse 5)? What does this suggest about God and about prayer? Do you remember Naaman (see 2 Kings 5)? How much faith does God require before He acts on our behalf?
We will look further into this chapter next time.