It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover. So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
Reflection. We are at least one year on from the very first Easter. The feast of Unleavened Bread is part of the Passover celebrations. (Look in the supermarket for matzos. They are a cracker similar to water biscuits - at Passover the Box is often red so you get the kosher ones.)
The political weasel, Herod Antipas noticed that killing one key church leader went down well, so he decided to imprison the other local upstart leader. And, goodness, Herod really did not want Peter to escape. Look at how well he was guarded! (We'll discover tomorrow how that went).
This must have been an awful time for the church. Did they hunker down and navel gaze? No, they prayed with passion for Peter. When the going got tough, the vulnerable got praying. A lesson, perhaps?
Prayer. Lord Jesus, may we follow this exemplar behaviour of your earliest followers. May we be people of prayer. For you, your glory, in your name. Amen.