All Are Responsible and Accountable to Jesus (Acts 12 pt 2)

Steve Behlke   -  

In Acts 12, King Herod executed James and arrested Peter, two prominent leaders in the early church. After God breaks Peter out of prison, the soldiers panic. Herod is furious and orders them to be executed. He casts blame on them and then retreats to the coastal resort of Caesarea, seemingly invincible and basking in his power and popularity.

It’s a scene we’ve seen play out countless times throughout history. The rich and powerful indulge in a life of luxury while the majority idolize them. But here’s the plot twist.

Acts 12:21 On an appointed day Herod, having put on his royal apparel, took his seat on the rostrum and began delivering an address to them. 22 And the people kept crying out [worshiping Herod, saying], “The voice of a god and not of a man!” [Rather than tell him, “No stop, really, you shouldn’t,” he basked in the glory.] 23 And immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died.

Herod’s looking good, speaking eloquently, and drinking up the crowd’s praise. So the Lord directs an angel to strike him with a plague and he is consumed by worms and dies a miserable death.

This account reminds us that even though people may praise those in power who oppose God’s ways, the true Sovereign, Jesus Christ, holds the ultimate authority. We must always see not what is seen but Jesus behind the scenes. Jesus is in charge.

Before Herod can execute Peter, Jesus intervenes and takes Herod’s life. It’s a clear demonstration that no matter how powerful or influential someone may seem, they are ultimately accountable to God.

 “And immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory.”

Herod’s death is not directly for His persecution of Peter and James but for his failure to glorify God. It was Herod’s pride, his disregard for God, God’s authority, and His glory.

Godless leaders oppose God. Whatever their opposing views are—they are evil. Jesus opposes them. He allows this to happen today, but He does not endorse it and He shall judge them for it. Do not capitulate to evil. Do not embrace evil. Do not stand for it. Then and now, godless leaders from presidents of countries to presidents of Big Tech and school boards, from bosses to crime bosses, however much influence they appear to have, all who oppose God’s design, purposes, and righteousness will face His judgment.

Acts 12:24 reveals a crucial outcome: despite political and religious persecution, the word of the Lord continues to grow and multiply.

That’s the bigger goal, and God’s bigger picture. Defying the government, defying a culture at odds with Christ, defying all odds, the Word of the Lord spread and multiplied. The church grew and multiplied. I.e., individuals found forgiveness, new life with God forever, and new joy in the love and embrace of God through Jesus.

So, what can we learn from this powerful story? Firstly, continually nurture a Christian worldview, to see things from God’s perspective. Jesus is Lord, no matter how much power the powerful seem to possess. Live under His Lordship in peace.

Whether we encounter unfair treatment at work, school, or in our daily lives, we should never lose hope or lose our cool. Instead, let’s rely on Jesus, knowing that He is in charge and cares deeply for us. He will hold evil to account and He will reward our faith and devotion to Him. We should fervently pray for His intervention and for the strength to follow Him faithfully, even in the face of adversity. Remember, He will reward our faith.

Moreover, as believers, we should strive to bring glory to God by boldly sharing the truth about Jesus, giving others a reason to trust Him. We glorify Him when we gather together as a church, encouraging one another in love and good works, and helping each other grow in our relationship with Christ. Living out our faith in the face of evil, honoring Jesus, and praying to Him enables God’s Word and plans to flourish, unstoppable and unshakable.

So, let us trust in God’s sovereignty, overcoming our fears of those in power or cultural bullies. Remember, we are all accountable to God, and Jesus is the true Sovereign. So, let’s boldly live out our faith, knowing that God’s ultimate goal is for His glory to shine through us and for His Word to spread and multiply.