“He killed James the brother of John with the sword…” Acts 12:2
We love the story of how God miraculously delivered Peter from the Herod’s jail. Peter had been chained between two soldiers, guarded by four squads of soldiers. I have, in my bible, highlighted verse 5, “but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.” An angel appeared, told him to get up and follow, then proceeded to lead Peter out through closed and locked gates. Great story!
But just before that we read in verse 2, that James, the brother of John, one of Jesus’ closest three apostles, was slain by Herod. Before today I didn’t have that verse highlighted. That’s not such a great one. You don’t see many motivational memes made from Acts 12:2. But it’s reality.
Are we, are you, ready to die? Are you ready to suffer for the sake of Christ? I have to admit that I’m not sure I am, so don’t think I’m coming from some lofty “be like me” trip. This verse leapt out at me precisely because I’m realizing just how much of my Christianity I try to negotiate with God.
We’d all love to be Peter in this story (as opposed to the time when Jesus called him Satan) but not many of us long to be James. Are we willing. Will we consider it a joy and a blessing to suffer for Jesus name? Will we find it an honor to be persecuted for the sake Christ and His glory?