v 7. An angel said ‘“Quick! Get up!”’
It is important to respond promptly to what God asks us to do.
With John’s brother James already murdered, Herod had his sights on Peter. All the goodwill expressed towards the followers of Jesus at the end of Acts 2 seems to have evaporated. We first read ‘They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. ‘ (Acts 2:46) So what happened between then and here in Acts 12, where we read ‘King Herod Agrippabegan to persecute some believers in the church. He had the apostle James (John’s brother) killed with a sword. When Herod saw how much this pleased the Jewish people, he also arrested Peter. ‘ Had a mob been stirred up by the Jewish leaders, I wonder?
Whatever the reason, Peter was in prison facing trial and almost certain execution. The appearance of an angel must have startled Peter, and his subsequent escape from prison must have seemed a dream, hence the urging Quick! Get up. How vital it was for Peter to respond immediately before anybody else appeared on the scene. His escape to the home of Mark and his mother Mary speaks of urgency in his flight from prison.
The rest of the chapter highlights the very human response of the other disciples, and Herod’s grisly end. The chapter might have begun with Peter’s life in danger, but it ends with God turning the tables; the persecutor dies as a result of his own vanity!