Unstoppable! 'James Murdered' — Acts 12:1-2

Thursday, July 6, 2023

About that time King Herod Agrippa began to persecute some believers in the church. He had the apostle James (John's brother) killed with a sword.

— Acts 12:1-2 NLT

Key Thought

Herod's persecution of the believers was severe. He had James, the brother of John, executed. James was part of Jesus' inner three of especially close disciples (Peter, James, and John) that he chose to have with him for special moments in his ministry.* He also was one of the first four disciples chosen and a fisherman who was nicknamed as one of the "Sons of Thunder" (Mark 3:17). Jesus had taught his apostles that martyrdom was likely.* With James' execution, martyrdom became a reality for the apostles; church tradition says it eventually claimed all of the remaining original apostles and Paul. May we have faith to persevere even through the persecution and death of our leaders, if that happens, and continue to share the unstoppable message of Jesus!

* For more on James and the inner three, see the first set of Related Scripture Readings, below. For more on persecution and martyrdom, see the second set.

Today's Prayer

Almighty God and loving Father, strengthen our resolve, deepen our faith, and give us the courage to be brave and bold no matter what Satan does to threaten us, whether it is done through just being in the world or by evil leaders or in any other way. We want to be part of your unstoppable Kingdom and share the message of Jesus' grace with everyone. We ask for the power of the Holy Spirit to help us. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Luke 5:1-11, 8:40-56, 9:28-36; Mark 14:32-42
  • Matthew 10:17, 21, 34-36, 23:34-37, 24:7-10; Mark 10:29-30, 13:9; Luke 21:12, 22:37; John 15:18-20, 17:14;


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Illustration of Acts 12:1-2 NLT — About that time King Herod Agrippa began to persecute some believers in the church. He had the apostle James (John's brother) killed with a sword.

About This Devotional

Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.

Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.