If you like a nice peaceful story, Acts 12-14 are definitely not for you. Full of murder, and violence, yet still the undertone of Jesus present in our lives. A brief overview.
First we start with chapter 12 — James is Killed by Herod’s violence, Peter is put in jail, yet God brings Peter to freedom. After going to May’s house, he stood and knocked until someone recognized his voice allowing him access (see voice print isn’t a new invention). We also hear of the soldiers who were guarding Peter were put to death by Herod, so Peter could escape, a parallel to Paul? Shortly after this Herod dies for not giving glory to God.
Chapter 13 turns from the violence to commissioning and the power of God against those who were false prophets. Paul and Barnabas also start traveling to share the history, lineage, and salvific voice of God through Jesus.
Chapter 14 is a short travel log of where Paul and Barnabas went and what they did in various places. It also lays groundwork for missionary work, eluding to the setting up of churches, laying on of hands, prayer and fasting, and leaving these elders in leadership. After they finished they returned to Antioch to be fed and to rest.
I think these Acts 12-14 offer us great opportunity to see God’s action at work, to build up the church, and to help us see the importance of sharing God’s message in the world. Paul and Barnabas were not sent out to start churches, or for mission starts rather they willingly went out to proclaim God’s word, and the churches started as a result of their proclamation of God’s word.
This section of Acts also allows us to see the need to return to wherever gives us rest, and respite, and peace, that our ministry cannot encompass our entire lives. We all know the signs and the symptoms of “burnout” however many times we just push through. But there needs to be a time for rest. Acts chapter 14 Luke writes “When they arrived, they called the church together and related all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith for the Gentiles. And they stayed there with the disciples for some time.” Through the Gospel’s and Genesis, we overlook, neglect, or ignore, the important part of our ministry which is that we ourselves need to rest and to be fed by God’s word.