PASTOR JOHNSON OTIENO
Acts 12:1-8 – 1Now about that time Herod the King stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. 2. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 3. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.).4. And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. 5. Peter therefore was kept in prison but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. 6. And when Herod would have bought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two solders, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. 7. And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. 8. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, cast thy garment abut thee, and follow me.
The text above is about the church when it passed through a violent time of persecution. There was such a wave like it had never been witnessed before as far as the persecution is concerned. Earlier on, the Church experienced persecution from the religious leaders who were the Sadducees but at this particular time there were a cruel family which was Herod’s family. He stood out by persecuting the Church at an extra ordinary level as this persecution had never been witnessed before. Firstly, he had just beheaded James and even before the church could heal from the scenario he immediately arrested Peter with the same intention, this was a difficult time for the church.
After the arrest, Herod had put sixteen guards to guard him as they wait the ending of the feast of unleavened bread to expedite his plan. As the event took shape earnest prayers were made available by the Church for Peter and the scriptures confirms so well that God came and delivered him.
LESSON ONE: Despite the harsh environment or event in life, God is still in control.
The bible reaffirms that God is in control of our world and he will work out his sovereign will and plan. God worked out his sovereign will and plan for the church at the time when there was such a strong wave like has never been heard before. You will agree with me that life’s events seems totally out of control. Evidently, we are going through a time when things look like they are going to overrun us. Many of us probably have come to the point where we synonymously think and talk of the frustrating editions of events we had before. At times we may just try to reflect back and as escapism is concerned we tell ourselves that it is manageable or we navigate towards any consolable direction.
God will remain to be God and despite our challenges his throne remains to be intact. Child of God I would like to quote a line in a song that says … there is there is a God in heaven. ISAIAH 6:1-“ In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting in the throne, high and lifted up, and the train of his robe filled the”. Peter was chained on the wall and talk of maximum security because he was guarded with sixteen solders just to satisfy Herod’s ego because sixteen was out of context. In the same event the Bible says that earnest prayers were made available for Him by the righteous brethren or the Church in particular. By so doing their prayers touched heaven and God showed up and delivered Peter.
Let me remind you Child of God in Psalms 93:2” Your throne is established from old; you are from everlasting”. Despite the murder of James it didn’t dilute the control of God on earth. One thing came out very clear the ultimate authority and power will forever remain in and with God. To testify the power of God we can study the life of Jesus and that very life is transferred to us through the reception of Jesus as the Lord of our life. He has power over disease, demon, the dead and nature .It doesn’t matter how cruel the events are but we shall have your hope and trust in Jehovah God because he is still in control. Herod’s family was very cruel because Herod Agrippa who murdered James was the grandson of Herod the great who wanted to kill Jesus but managed to murder a number of children in Bethlehem targeting Jesus.
This particular time Herod beheads James and straight away he goes and arrests Peter so he may equally persecute him the Church was perturbed and the situation looked out of control, I can imagine the church at that time probably they were crying out saying “ Jehovah not again.” Probably people were praying in the synagogues and their houses employing the divinity that it shouldn’t be the same as James. Perhaps you are in that kind of situation right now, you might have managed on your way more than once before but this time the wave is a combination of harsh and cruel .We even at times knowing or unknowingly question God .I would like to reassure you child of God, things may be out of control but you should know that God has a plan for you. As I was preparing this message God remaindered me of the song “He’s got the whole world in his hand …” and probably the devil has been questioning your mind with questions like, does God really has the whole world in his hand? Is he really in control? Let me assure you that God has never and will never lose control despite all. Psalms 121:4 “Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep”.
When the storm is harsh, prayer is the ultimate solution. This is demonstrated clearly when Peter was arrested and the church realized the power they had, they deliberately put prayer to action. Never forget that Herod had the power of a sword but the church had the power of prayer. Earnest prayer is the type of prayer whereby agony is of deep insight. Let us look at Jesus at the garden of gethsemane where Jesus went to pray and in his prayer he asked the Father to put the cup away. Hezekiah in 2 Kings 20:2 “Then he turned his face toward the wall, and prayed facing the wall. I would like to drop something here child of God, the earnest prayer will not need anyone to link us to the throne of heaven because Isaiah comes over to Hezekiah and unleashes the message but instead of relying on the message He decides to connect with God. People who know there God will not need a lean to connect with Him.
The best and the only way to connect with God is through prayer. God established prayer as a way of initiating or activating sovereign plan. Learn to be at the center of God’s divine plan.
Points to remember:
1. Prayer enables us to contact the heavenly throne when things seems to be out of control.
2. The element of the power of prayer can enable us to enforce the will of God in our world
3. The element of the power of prayer helps us to resist and defeat the enemy.
4. The element of the power of prayer has power over nature, diseases and whatever kind of waves the evil might plot.
5. When we pray he has guaranteed Angelic assistance.
Let’s continue with Peter, the scripture says that when Peter was in prison under watch of the guard Peter was asleep. The same Peter who Jesus had led to pray but he slept because of little faith sleeping due to much faith. He is in prison yet sound asleep while he is about to face persecution. He knew whom he believed, he probably was convinced that the fact that James had died didn’t necessarily define his destiny and for that reason he poured his trust in God and fell asleep and in a moment the Angel showed up.
A. God has a plan for you.
B. God is in control and true enough he has a purpose for every situation that you go through.
C. God will always answer your prayer.
Thank you and may God bless you.