Online Bible Commentary
God Always Makes a Way
Acts 12:18 Then, as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers about what had become of Peter. 19 But when Herod had searched for him and not found him, he examined the guards and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judea to Caesarea, and stayed there. 20 Now Herod had been very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon; but they came to him with one accord, and having made Blastus the king's personal aide their friend, they asked for peace, because their country was supplied with food by the king's country. 21 So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them. 22 And the people kept shouting, "The voice of a god and not of a man!" 23 Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died. 24 But the word of God grew and multiplied. 25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their ministry, and they also took with them John whose surname was Mark. (NKJV)
King Herod Agrippa I ruled from A.D. 37 to 44, with Judea and Galilee added to his territory in A.D. 41. Herod, a Jewish sympathizer, took it upon himself to persecute the church as a favor to the Jews. Herod executed James, the older brother of John, by the sword in A.D. 44.
When Herod saw that the Jews were pleased with James’ execution he later also arrested Peter. However, it was now the religious holidays in Jerusalem so, when he had arrested Peter, Herod put him in prison instead of executing him immediately. He planned to execute him after Passover. However, an angel helped Peter escape from the prison in the middle of the night.
The next day “there was no small stir among the soldiers about what had become of Peter” (v. 18). Herod ordered a search, but Peter was no where to be found (v. 19a). Herod, as was customary, then had the guards responsible for Peter’s escape executed (v. 19b). The king then left Jerusalem, taking off for Caesarea, a resort city on the Mediterranean Coast, perhaps to soothe his frazzled feelings (v. 19c).
The city of Tyre was located about fifty miles up the coast from Caesarea and Sidon was another twenty miles up the coast. The people of these two cities needed food, specifically grain, from the king, so they took the occasion of the king being nearby to approach him with their need (v. 20d). Unfortunately, King Herod was angry with these people (v. 20a). So, the people approached “Blastus the king's personal aide” with their request because he was their “friend” (v. 20b). They asked for “peace”, an audience, with the king, in order to request food (v. 20c).
The contingent from Tyre and Sidon were granted their request for an audience before the king. On that day the king, “arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them. And the people kept shouting, ‘The voice of a god and not of a man!’ (vv. 21-22). Immediately an angel struck Herod dead, for accepting the glory that was due to God (v. 23a). Herod “was eaten by worms and died” (v. 23b).
Herod had been a persecutor of the Christians. With him removed from the scene the Christian movement thrived and “the word of God grew and multiplied” (v. 24).
Barnabas and Saul played a major part in growing the word of God (v. 25a). They had been sent by their church in Antioch with relief food supplies for the Christians in Jerusalem. The same famine that affected Tyre and Sidon also affected Jerusalem. They delivered the supplies to the church at Jerusalem for distribution, and then returned to Antioch taking Mark with them (v. 25b).
Now, the scene was set for the first missionary journey for Saul, later named Paul. The timing was good because Herod had been removed. God, as He always does, made a way for His people.
So God makes a way for us Christians. We are to be faithful to spread the gospel. God will put the people in our path with whom we are to share that gospel. We only need to be faithful to Him when He does. God always makes a way.