Prayer vs Politics

Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.  And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.  And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also.  (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)  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.  Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.

Acts 12:1-5

In this passage, King Herod started persecuting the church, going so far as to even kill James, the brother of John.  The Jews (especially the scribes and chief priests) loved this persecution.  They hated the Lord Jesus, had called for His crucifixion and had rejected Him a second time when the disciples started preaching about Him after His ascension.  Their consciences were eating them alive and they just wanted Jesus and everything to do with Him done away with.  The popularity of the persecution of the early church leaders made Herod persecute even more.  In verse 3, we find that he arrested Peter and planned to kill him as well.

Herod was using his considerable political power to persecute the church.  What recourse did the church have?  Herod was the king.  They couldn’t appeal to him and they really couldn’t appeal to an earthly leader higher than him.  Did they protest and revolt?  Did they sign a petition asking him to stop the persecution?  They did none of the above.  They went far above Herod.  They prayed.  Herod was using all of his power against the church.  “…but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.”  The church had something far more powerful than mere political influence.  The church knew Someone far more powerful than King Herod.  They knew the God of Heaven.  And they prayed to Him.  Sometimes it can feel like we have no “power.”  But we have the greatest power available to mankind – God Himself.  What a wonderful Saviour!

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