Scripture Text:(click to open in a new window)
Persecution of the first Christians now resumes – at the hands of the Roman representative King, Herod Agrippa 1 (the nephew of Herod Antipas, who questioned Jesus before His death). Click here for more history of the Herodian family in the New Testament.
1. Who was the most surprising person to ever show up at your door?
2. If you were arrested by a dictatorial government for being a Christian, what evidence might they point to as proof of your guilt? What could some “well meaning” character witness point to as proof of your innocence?
3. If one of the people in your group (or church) were put to death and another were thrown into jail, what would that do your group (or church)?
- It would bring us closer together.
- It would cause us to really pray.
- We would stand up for our faith.
- We would likely go into hiding.
- We would likely give up our faith.
- I don’t know what we do.
4. This Herod is the nephew of the Herod who ruled in Jesus’ day. What do you learn of his character in verses 20 – 23? Why would his choice to arrest Peter (verses 2 – 4) please the Jewish leaders?
5. Why do you think Herod, as a Roman official, would now join in the Jewish opposition to the church?
6. How do you feel about the fact that God saved Peter but not James? In light of John 21:18 – 19, how might Peter respond to this question?
7. If the Christians were asking God to deliver Peter from jail, why were they so surprised when he showed up at the door?
- They knew how tight the security would be.
- They didn’t really expect God to answer their prayer.
- They were afraid it was a trick.
- They were caught off guard.
- They reacted the same way I probably would have.
8. If you had been present at this prayer meeting, what would this miracle have done for you?
- given me courage
- boosted my prayer life
- made me ashamed for doubting
- drawn our group closer together
9. Who is the James of verse 17 (see Galatians 1:18 – 19)? Why do you think he is mentioned? What does this tell you about his importance in the Jerusalem church?
10. Putting yourself in the place of the soldiers (verse 18), what would you say to each other in the morning?
11. In verses 20 – 22, what contrasts do you see between Herod’s power and God’s power?
12. What do you make of Herod’s death (verses 21 – 23)?
13. In this “Judea and Samaria” phase (chapters 8 – 12) of God’s plan (Acts 1:8), how has the church fared? What opposition has it faced so far? How far has it expanded?
14. When has God surprised you by intervening in a situation that you thought was hopeless?
15. Where do you find yourself in prison, so to speak, right now?
- in my family relationships
- to a craving that holds me captive
- to a physical limitation that holds me back
- to feelings of low self-worth
- to a stagnant spiritual life
16. What would most help you to find freedom from this?
- an angel rescuing me
- some friends praying for me, and really believing it can happen
- my own confidence in God’s ability to help me
- my own desire to change
17. How can your small group (or church) assist you in your situation?
- leave me alone
- pray for me
- help me deal with the relationship that binds me
- call me every now and then
- hold me accountable
- other: _________________
18. In this chapter who truly has power: Herod or the Lord? What does this tell you about how Christians ought to deal with opposition and persecution? What worldly forces seem all-powerful to you? How does this chapter put them in perspective?