Reversal of Fortunes

by Barry Newton
The events of Acts 12 should not surprise us. After all, Luke has already prepared us to expect such things in the opening of his Gospel account. After meeting Elizabeth, the young pregnant virgin Mary exclaimed about the Mighty One, “He has taken down rulers from their thrones and exalted the humble.” (Luke 1:52)
From all appearances, the disciples in Acts 12 appear to be a meager lot. Both the religious authorities as well as political forces are against them. King Herod had James killed. The religious officials celebrate. Peter is captured. The plan for Peter is same song second verse.
From a typical human perspective, there could be no question as to how the future would unfurl. Herod was secure and would presumably live a long time, while Peter’s days were numbered.
That’s when the unimaginable happened. God can do that. God freed Peter from prison. And as Herod’s ego basked in the glory being lavished upon him, God’s angel struck him with a fatal disease. The ruler was destroyed, while the powerless was exalted.
As Luke tells part of the story of the early church, we are reminded of an old lesson about fear and faith echoing from such stories as Joshua and Caleb or David and Goliath as well as Jesus’ teachings.
Don’t fear humanity. Fear God. Don’t measure life or view it through human perspectives anchored on this world. Remember who is really in control, whose opinion matters and what he has said.

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