25 May 2015
by Philip Layton

Prison bars

The apostle James is killed. Peter makes a miraculous escape from prison 

Click here to read Acts 12

Discussion Questions

  • The believers mourn the death of James and rejoice in Peter’s miraculous escape (vv 1-19). What can be learned from these contrasting outcomes?
  • Imagine how Peter felt behind the closed door (v 14).

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Going Deeper from 'Words of Life'

John was his Jewish name; Mark his Roman name. He came from a godly home. His mother, Mary, was the sister of Barnabas. The description of their home indicates wealth: a gate, a passageway – leading to the inner courtyard. Room enough to host a crowd. It was where people had gathered to pray for Peter’s release from prison, as we have read in today’s Scripture passage. It was a safe place for God’s people to gather; a place of Christian activity.

It is out of this atmosphere that we encounter John Mark. He was thought to be the one who followed Jesus after his arrest in Gethsemane. Interestingly, he’s the only one who records the event:

A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind (Mark 14:51, 52).

Mark seemed to have a special relationship with Peter. He referred to Mark as ‘my son’ (1 Peter 5:13), indicating perhaps that he’d led him to accept Christ as Saviour.

Barnabas and Paul brought John Mark from Jerusalem to Antioch. He was then invited to accompany them on their first great missionary journey into Gentile territory. He was to be their helper. They left as a team; but suddenly, part way through the journey, John Mark left them – returning to Jerusalem. It was a surprise for all concerned. He had let them down, big time.

Have you ever done things on the spur of the moment, that you later regretted? I’m sure we can all relate to this. It’s how we pick up and move forward that matters most. As we pray today, let’s ask that God keeps us open to his leading and that we’ll sense what he wants from us as we continue to serve him.

In whatever situation you find yourself, try not to ever let him down. His Spirit is ever present to help us – call on him at any time of day or night.

Beverly Ivany
Photo courtesy Tom Brindley, used under Creative Commons licensing

Tags: Acts