Acts 12

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“About that time King Herod Agrippa began to persecute some believers in the church. He had the apostle James (John’s brother) killed with a sword” (Acts 12:1-2 NLT).

June 18, 2018

Herod Agrippa was the grandson of Herod the Great, who tried to kill the infant Jesus by murdering all of the baby boys age two and under in Bethlehem. His uncle, Herod Antipas, beheaded John the Baptist and ridiculed Jesus, sending Him back to Pilate for judgment. Herod Agrippa, who was more Roman than Jewish, took up the family habit of persecuting Christians. He had James the elder killed with the sword, which indicated execution by beheading.

The mother of James and his brother, John, had asked that her sons be seated on either side of Jesus when He came into His kingdom. Jesus replied that they didn’t know what they were asking. He asked, “Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?” (Matt.20:22). They replied that that were able. To which Jesus responded that they would indeed drink from the bitter cup of suffering. James, son of Zebedee, and brother of John, was the first apostle martyred.

And what of the false king, Herod Agrippa? His reign was short lived. He died of worms after accepting the glory that belonged to God.

“But the word of God continued to increase and spread” (Acts 12:24)

June 18, 2011

Ch.12 began with the execution of James, brother of John, and the imprisonment of Peter. But it ended with the death of Herod and this statement. Persecution did not stop the gospel. It served to spread it further. Tertullian said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”