Posted by / Thursday 24 March 2016 / No comments

Peter's arrest by Herod

Colosseum Rome Italy Roman Architecture La


In those days, Herod the king began to persecute some of the members of the church. First, he killed James the brother of John and when he saw that the people were happy about what he had done, he proceeded to arrest Peter too. Since this was around the time of the festival of unleavened bread, Herod did not kill Peter. He kept him in prison cells with the intention of killing him after the feast of unleavened bread.

In the prison cell, Herod ordered that Peter must be guarded by four squads of soldiers. In the cell, Peter slept between two soldiers. His right hand was chained to the left hand of the soldier lying on his right and his left hand was chained to the right hand of the soldier on his left. There were guards stationed outside the cell too. All these were to ensure that Peter did not escape. While Peter was in prison, the rest of the members of the church prayed to God that he might be saved.

The night before the day Herod intended to bring Peter out to be killed, an angel of the Lord went into Peter's cell. Peter, as usual, was sleeping in-between two soldiers with his wrists chained to the two soldiers’ wrist, one on either side of his body. 

The angel went into Peter’s cell and touched him by the side. The angel told him to stand up and when he did, the chains fell off his wrists. The angel told Peter to put on his sandals and to wrap his cloth around himself. Then he asked Peter to follow him and Peter did.

Rome Colosseum Italy Antiquity St Peter St

Peter and the angel passed the first guard and then they passed the second one. Then they came to the main gate which opened into the city. When they got there, the gate opened of its own accord. They walked out of the prison. They walked into a street and the angel left him. It was only then Peter that he realized he was not having a vision. It was real.

Peter went straight to the house of Mary the mother of John. He knocked on the door and a maid called Rhoda came to the door. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she did not open the door immediately, in her joy she went away to tell those in the house that Peter was at the door. In disbelief, they said she was mad. They also added that it was Peter’s angel.

Meanwhile, at the gate, Peter continued to knock the door and finally, they opened it. When Peter entered, he motioned to them in sign language to be quiet. He described what had happened and how he was rescued from prison. He told them to inform James and the other brothers. Then Peter left for an undisclosed location.

When it was realized the next day that Peter had escaped, a big stir was generated. Herod examined all the guards who were at the post and after finding them culpable, he executed them for dereliction of duty. After that Herod left Judea and went to stay at Caesarea for a while.

1. After the death of Herod, the church grew even further and spread even more.
2. The fear that came over the church as a result of its persecution was removed.
3. After the death of Herod, there was relative peace.

1. a. Explain how Herod opposed the early Church.
    b. Identify two consequences of his action.
2. a. Narrate the story of how Peter escaped from Prison when he was arrested by Herod.
    b. In which three ways did this story affect the development of the early Church?

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