The big boss killed James, one of Jesus’s special workers
In Jerusalem, at that time, the big boss was called Herod. He told his soldiers to grab some of the Christians. One of them was James. He and his young brother, John, were both special workers of Jesus. Herod told his soldiers to kill James with a big knife.
The Jewish leaders told Herod that this made them very happy, so he told his soldiers to grab Peter too. It was the time for the Jewish people to have their ceremony where they ate flat damper. So Herod thought, “I will wait until the end of that ceremony, then I will judge Peter and kill him.” So they put Peter in jail, and Herod told 4 little mobs of soldiers to guard Peter there. Those little mobs had 4 soldiers each, and they took turns to guard Peter.*
Peter stayed there in jail, and the other Christians prayed for him a lot.
Peter walked out of the jail
That Jewish ceremony was almost finished, and Herod was going to judge Peter the next day. That night, Peter was asleep in that jail. There was one soldier on each side of him, and they tied each of his hands with chains to those soldiers. And 2 other soldiers stood at the gate of the jail.
Suddenly, there was a bright light in that little room in the jail, and one of Gods angel messengers came and stood in front of Peter. That angel touched his side to wake him up, and said, “Quick. Get up.” And the chains fell off Peters hands. Then the angel told him, “Get dressed and put on your shoes.” So Peter did that. Then the angel said, “Now put on your coat and follow me.”
So Peter put on his coat and followed the angel, and they just walked out of that little room in the jail. Peter was not sure that all these things were true. He thought, “Maybe I’m dreaming. Maybe this is not really happening to me.”
10 Peter and the angel walked past the 1st mob of soldiers in that jail, then they walked past the 2nd mob of soldiers. After that, they came to the big iron gate in the outside wall of the jail. That gate just opened by itself in front of them, and they walked out of the jail into the city street. They walked together along that street, and then suddenly the angel left Peter and went away.
11 Then Peter woke up properly. He said to himself, “Now I know that this is true. I’m not dreaming. God did send one of his angels to save me. That big boss Herod, and the Jewish leaders, they wanted to hurt me, but God saved me from them.” 12 After Peter thought that, he went to Mary’s house. She was the mother of John Mark. A lot of Christians were there in her house, and they were praying for Peter.
13 Peter knocked on the door of that house, and a worker went to the door. She was a girl called Rhoda. 14 She heard his voice, and she knew it was Peter, so she was very happy. She was so happy that she forgot to open the door. She just ran back into the house and told all the people, “Peter is here, standing outside the door.”
15 Those people said, “You are mad.” But she kept on telling them that Peter really was there. Then they said, “It cant be him. It has to be the angel that looks after him.”
16 But Peter kept on knocking on that door. After a little while they stopped arguing, and they opened the door, and they saw him, and they were really surprised. 17 Peter held up his hand to get them to be quiet, then he told them the story about how God got him out of that jail. Then he said, “Tell this story to the other Christians, and make sure you tell it to James too.” Then he left them and went to another place.
18 After the sun came up, the soldiers in the jail saw that Peter wasn’t there, and they were really upset and worried. They were all saying things like, “What happened to Peter? Who let him get away?” 19 Then Herod told them all to look everywhere to find him. But they didn’t find him. So Herod judged the soldiers that were guarding Peter. He asked them some questions, then he told the other soldiers to kill them.
After that, Herod left Judea country and went to stay for a while in the town called Caesarea.
Herod, the big boss, died
20-21 At that time, Herod was very angry with the people that lived in the towns called Tyre and Sidon. That made a problem for those people. You see, Herod was the boss over Galilee country, and those people got all their food from Galilee, and they didn’t want Herod to stop them from getting that food. So some of them went to Herod’s house to talk to him about this problem. At Herod’s house, Blastus was one of his important workers. So those men talked to Blastus, and they said, “Please help us, we want to talk with Herod. We want to stop all this trouble.” So Blastus got Herod to agree to talk to those people, then he told them the day that Herod was going to talk to them.
On that day, Herod put on his special clothes, and he sat in his special seat, to show everyone that he is the big boss over that country. And then he talked to all those people. 22 They all wanted to make him happy so they shouted, “This is not a man talking. He is a god.”
23 Herod liked their talk. He didn’t tell them that he is only a man, and that God is the great and powerful one. So then one of Gods angels punished Herod. That angel put worms inside of Herod’s body, and they ate his guts, and he died.
24 At that time the Christians kept on telling everybody about Jesus, so a big mob of people heard that message, and a lot of them believed in Jesus.
The Holy Spirit picked Barnabas and Saul for a special job
25 After that, Barnabas and Saul finished their work at Jerusalem, so they went back to the city called Antioch. And they took John Mark with them.
* 12:4 Exodus 12:1-27