1 About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. 2 He killed James the brother of John with the sword, 3 and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread.
4 And when Herod had seized Peter, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. 5 So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.
All of the Herods had a struggle with their political power from Rome over the Jewish people. Sometimes they wanted to show off that they were the real king of the Jews (like during the Bethlehem massacre) or in this case where this Herod is wiping out these rogue teachers. He’s not seeking any understanding. He’s killing off political enemies of the people that he needs as friends.
As James and Peter are caught in the middle, they are pretty hopeless. They don’t have the power to overwhelm Herod, much less bands of army folk.
While Peter is in jail waiting to be executed, circumstances have played in his favor; he has an extra 7 days to live. Because it was against the law to have court, much less executions, during the Passover, they are all going to wait to kill Peter until after the 7 days of the feast.
Isn’t that nice of them?
That gives the church 7 days to pray and that’s exactly what they did. 7 days to pray and ask God to do something. They need a miracle. They need a rescue.
But guess what, God isn’t using their faith as a condition of answering their prayers. True, in some places Jesus said the phrase “your faith has saved you” but there is not a consistent message in scripture that great faith equals great answers and just a tad bit of faith earns just a tad bit of answers.
There is a mysterious combination here of love, freedom, involvement, and participation in God’s will. He wants to do things, and He won’t be stopped by our apathy or lack of involvement with Him. But when we pray! When we join in with what God is doing! When we ask Him things and join our Holy Spirit-inspired will to His!
Peter has 7 seven days to wait.
The church has 7 days to pray.
God has 7 days to configure an answer.
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