Series: What About James?
Message: What About James?
Preacher: Mic Thurber
Daily Walk: David Smith
Refresh: Open with prayer. Read or listen to Psalm 66:17-20.
Read: Acts 12:1-19 (ESV). As you read, note 1-3 insights or questions.
Reflect: “God has just been pouring out his blessings on me!” Have you ever heard someone say something like that? How did you react? If you are anything like me, it depended on what your personal life looked like at the time.
While I know that the proper Christian response should always be to rejoice at someone else’s good fortune, I have to be honest that my humanity often comes through instead. It’s easy to rejoice with someone else if I myself feel blessed. But during those moments in life where I don’t feel blessed? In those moments it can be very hard to hear those words from another person. Even worse is when people are talking about God blessing them in the very area I feel particularly challenged!
What are we to make of these moments? Obviously, one takeaway is that I often need a change of heart! But why is it that God sometimes works powerfully in the life of one follower, while seemingly neglecting another? This is exactly the kind of problem that we find in Acts 12. On the one hand, Peter was no doubt blessed. He was locked up in prison—possibly looking death in the eye—and God intervenes and miraculously delivers him. It’s a great story! But it’s a story that starts out with the death of James (and perhaps others as well). We’re told Herod has been persecuting Christians and has had James killed. Then we’re told that it’s because of the positive reaction to this that he has Peter arrested. Peter, James, other Christians…they have all been persecuted by Herod. But it’s only Peter who receives a miraculous intervention.
Sometimes it’s hard to know what God is up to. Sometimes it’s hard to know why He chooses to intervene in some situations but appears not to in others. Can we choose to rejoice in His interventions always?
Respond: Pray for someone that you don’t normally pray for today.
Research: Who is the James referred to in verse 17? Is this James different than the James referred to in verse 2?