Teaching Series
Easter in Acts
Thursday—Easter in Acts

Series: Advancing
Message: Easter in Acts
Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Reflection: Japhet De Oliveira
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Zan Long
Live Purpose: Jason Calvert
Editor: Becky De Oliveira

Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.

Read: Acts 12:1-18 in the New International Version (NIV). Note 1–3 insights or questions. 

Reflect: Does the day matter? Does the date matter? Is there some significance in the timing of all of this? Herod Agrippa I was the grandson of Herod the Great—the same king who hunted down baby Jesus and tried to have him killed. His uncle, Herod Antipas, had tried Jesus when He was an adult right before His crucifixion. Peter and John had been released by an angel in Acts 5:17-20. So naturally, Herod Agrippa I was not going to take any risks. He ordered extra Roman guards, including guards who were chained directly to Peter. When the angel released Peter, it was totally unexpected. It was unexpected for Peter. It was unexpected even for the girl who answered the door at Mary’s house. They had been praying all night. She left Peter at the door still knocking. 

Everything about that weekend was unexpected. So was the weekend that took place 10 years earlier. Jesus, the Messiah, carried the cross up that final street to Calvary. He was nailed to the cross and forgave all those who were hurting Him. He stayed in the grave all night long. He rose early Sunday morning. He sent the Holy Spirit to give power to the disciples, enabling them to proclaim the Good News to the world. All of this was unexpected, yet it was exactly what was needed. 

Luke understood this and embedded it into the text, relating back to First Testament stories. These connections are often lost in the English translation, but are apparent in the Greek. As J. Bradley Chance, shares in his Commentary on Acts: 

First, Herod wants to “afflict” the Church (Acts 12:1) which echos back to Jesus seeing the “affliction of this people” in Egypt (Exodus 1:1; 5:23, and Genesis 15:3).

Second, Peter said an angel “rescued me out of the hand of” Herod (Acts 12:11) and we find Jesus said “I will “rescue them out of the hand of” the Egyptians (Exodus 3:8). 

Third, Peter said the Lord “led him out” of prison (Acts 12:17) again Jesus said at the burning bush to Moses it is “to lead them out” of Egypt (Exodus 3:8). (pp. 204-205)

These connections would have been obvious to the people in Luke’s time. They would have seen the hand of Jesus in this. He is always active. He always does the unexpected when we need it. 

Recalibrate: How has Jesus shown up in your life in an unexpected way? 

Respond: Pray that you will see the hand of Jesus more in your life. 

Research: Read Exodus 3.

Japhet De Oliveira is senior pastor of Boulder Adventist Church in Boulder, Colorado.

There is nothing better than a happy little face waiting for you in the morning, expectant for breakfast and a day spent together. Enjoy your child today and remember that your angels are with you.

Do you have trouble getting up in the morning? Peter was awakened in the middle of the night by an angel. Can you imagine if Peter had rolled over and told the angel to come back when it was daylight? When you wake up tomorrow, know that there is an angel waiting to do your day with you.

Have you ever been so shocked that you literally thought it was too good to be true? In the passage this week, Christians are begging for something. Actually, they’re praying—all night! t’s while this group is praying all night they receive the shock of their lives. Peter knocks on the front door. Rhoda hears the knock, then hears Peter’s voice! Yeah… the guy they’ve been praying for who was stuck in prison on the eve of his beheading! When Rhoda runs inside to tell everyone their prayers have been answered, they don’t believe her. What would happen if you and I started to believe more? What would happen if God actually answered our prayers?

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