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Herod Agrippa Hurts the Church

12 1During that same time King Herod* began to persecute* some of the people that belonged to the church (group of believers). 2Herod ordered James to be killed with a sword. James was the brother of John. 3Herod saw that the Jews liked this. So he decided to arrest Peter, too. (This happened during the time of the Jewish holiday called the Passover.*) 4Herod arrested Peter and put him in jail. A group of 16 soldiers guarded Peter. Herod wanted to wait until after the Passover festival. Then he planned to bring Peter before the people. 5So Peter was kept in jail. But the church was constantly praying to God for Peter.

Peter Leaves the Jail

6Peter was sleeping between two of the soldiers. He was bound with two chains. More soldiers were guarding the door of the jail. It was at night, and Herod* planned to bring Peter out before the people the next day. 7Suddenly, an angel of the Lord stood there. A light shined in the room. The angel touched Peter on the side and woke him up. The angel said, "Hurry, get up!" The chains fell off Peter's hands. 8The angel said to Peter, "Get dressed and put on your shoes." And so Peter did this. Then the angel said, "Put on your coat and follow me." 9So the angel went out and Peter followed. Peter did not know if the angel was really doing this. He thought he might be seeing a vision.* 10Peter and the angel went past the first guard and the second guard. Then they came to the iron gate that separated them from the city. The gate opened itself for them. Peter and the angel went through the gate and walked about a block. Then the angel suddenly left. 11Peter realized then what had happened. He thought, "Now I know that the Lord really sent his angel to me. He rescued (saved) me from Herod.* The Jewish people thought that bad things would happen to me. But the Lord saved me from all these things." 12When Peter realized this, he went to the home of Mary. She was the mother of John. (John was also called Mark.) Many people were gathered there. They were all praying. 13Peter knocked on the outside door. A servant girl named Rhoda came to answer it. 14Rhoda recognized Peter's voice, and she was very happy. She even forgot to open the door. She ran inside and told the group, "Peter is at the door!" 15The believers said to Rhoda, "You are crazy!" But she continued to say that it was true. So they said, "It must be Peter's angel." 16But Peter continued to knock. When the believers opened the door, they saw Peter. They were amazed. 17Peter made a sign with his hand to tell them to be quiet. He explained to them how the Lord led him out of the jail. He said, "Tell James and the other brothers what happened." Then Peter left to go to another place. 18The next day the soldiers were very upset. They wondered what happened to Peter. 19Herod* looked everywhere for Peter but could not find him. So Herod questioned the guards. Then he ordered that the guards be killed.

The Death of Herod Agrippa

Later Herod* moved from Judea. He went to the city of Caesarea and stayed there a while. 20Herod was very angry with the people from the cities of Tyre and Sidon. Those people all came in a group to Herod. They were able to get Blastus on their side. Blastus was the king's personal servant. The people asked Herod for peace because their country needed food from Herod's country. 21Herod* decided a day to meet with them. On that day Herod was wearing a beautiful royal robe. He sat on his throne and made a speech to the people. 22The people shouted, "This is the voice of a god, not a man!" 23Herod [accepted this praise and] did not give the glory to God. So an angel of the Lord caused him to become sick. He was eaten by worms inside him, and he died. 24The message* of God was spreading and influencing more and more people. The group of believers became larger and larger. 25After Barnabas and Saul finished their work in Jerusalem, they returned to Antioch. John Mark was with them.

Herod Herod Agrippa I, grandson of Herod the Great. persecute To persecute is to hurt or do bad things to. Passover An important Jewish holy day. The Jews ate a special meal on this day every year to remember that God freed them from slavery in Egypt in the time of Moses. vision(s) Something like dreams used by God to speak to people. message, Good News The news that God has made a way for people to have their sins forgiven and live with him forever.

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