Unstoppable! 'One Event, Two Stories' — Acts 12:4-5

Monday, July 8, 2024

Then [Herod] imprisoned [Peter], placing him under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring Peter out for public trial after the Passover. But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.

— Acts 12:4-5 NLT

Key Thought

Luke makes clear that the battle lines were drawn: Herod and his soldiers against the people of God and the power of God. The two stories relate to the different approaches Herod and Jesus' disciples took to this battle. Herod used the tools, armor, and power of human might to persecute, subjugate, and kill followers of Jesus. The followers of Jesus, however, did not use weapons of human violence (John 18:36). Instead, they relied on their heavenly armor and spiritual power.* Our power against human violence must not be based on returning human violence but on "God's armor" (Ephesians 6:10-13) — it is our redemptive spiritual power which makes the advance of God's Kingdom and the message of Jesus unstoppable.

* See the Related Scripture Readings below for more on a Christian's heavenly and spiritual armor.

Today's Prayer

Father of mercy, God of love, strengthen me with your great might. Teach me to resist returning violence for violence. Instead, Holy Spirit, I ask that you lead me to understand and apply the principles of genuine Spirit-empowered warfare against the powers of darkness and the host of evil influences in both the spiritual and the earthly realms of power — whether political, social, or economic. Lord Jesus, overcome every evil desire in me so that I can fight the fight of faith with grace, mercy, peace, love, trust, and prayer. In your name, my Lord Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Romans 13:10-14; 2 Corinthians 6:7, 10:3-6
  • Ephesians 6:10-20; 1 Thessalonians 5:4-10

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Illustration

Illustration of Acts 12:4-5 NLT — Then [Herod] imprisoned [Peter], placing him under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring Peter out for public trial after the Passover. But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.

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.