Today is Wednesday, October 11, 2017.   In Chapter 12 we see Peter imprisoned and, in spite of a serious and very real threat, asleep!  The Lord’s plan for Peter was unfolding for him and the newly founded church.  In this Scripture we experience a RESCUE and see the power of prayer!  Let’s look at the passage together and see how this passage applies to you and I today.  - Kim

 

CONNECT
(Take time to write down responses to these questions or discuss in your group)

_ Tell of a time when you felt imprisoned by a thought, idea, or circumstance.  Share your thoughts during the time.  If you are on the other side of the imprisonment, FREE!, where did you find the key of hope that led to your release?
_ How is the Lord using you to “give a defense for the hope that is within you?”

PRAY
Lord, you hold me in your hand.  In You, and in Your will, I am safe and secure. Please remind me that I do not need to be a slave to fear.  

My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;

I dare not trust the sweetest frame,

But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.   

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand,

All other ground is sinking sand.

DISCOVER  [Acts 12:1-19]
+ WHAT is this passage saying and what do we learn?
(Use these questions below each portion of text to clarify the main point)

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 he had seized him, 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.

_ In vs. 1-3 who was persecuting the church?  Who had he already killed?  Who was now his prisoner?
_ In vs. 4-5 what were God’s people celebrating?  As they celebrated, what did they earnestly do?

6 Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. 7 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. 8 And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” 9 And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. 11 When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”

_ How do we meet Peter in verse 6?  Who came to Peter in verse 7?  What else entered Peter’s cell in verse 7?
_ Imagine you are Peter and awakened and struck from your circumstance.  The angel gives three commands requiring Peter to respond.  What were they?  How did Peter respond?  Vs 7-9  
_ Is Peter convinced this is real?  Why does he respond anyway?  
_ How does the gate of his imprisonment open in verse 10?
_ What do you think “When Peter came to himself” means?  

12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. 13 And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 Recognizing Peter's voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. 15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” 16 But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers.” Then he departed and went to another place.

18 Now when day came, there was no little disturbance among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. 19 And after Herod searched for him and did not find him, he examined the sentries and ordered that they should be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent time there.

_ Where does Peter go after his release?  Who was gathered there?  What were they doing?  Vs 12
_ Why were God’s people so amazed when they heard Rhoda’s report of the evening visitor? Vs 14-16  
_ Why did Peter go to the house of Mary, and then leave?  What mission did he give the people of God? Vs 17
_ How did Peter’s disappearance affect Herod and the soldiers?  Vs 19

+ HOW am I compelled to confess sin and how does the gospel compel me to respond with a simple step of action/obedience?  (Here are some thoughts to discuss in break-outs)

_ Is there an area of your life that you are being invited answer God’s call to trust him and leave your chains and your cell?  If so, how are you going to walk differently this week?
_ How are you specifically praying for those you are walking with in their trials?  
_ Is there a place that you are lacking power or strength?  How can you lean into the One who sends angels of freedom?

+ WHO are you walking with to discover or grow in Jesus and what is your next step with them, how can we help?