About that time King Herod laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church. He had James, the brother of John, killed with the sword. After he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. (This was during the festival of Unleavened Bread.) When he had seized him, he put him in prison and handed him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending to bring him out to the people after the Passover. (Acts 12:1-4)
Jesus told His apostles to make disciples of all nations, but they stayed in Jerusalem. Jesus used persecution to get them out of their comfort zone. God is allowing persecution again. But why would He allow His beloved apostle James to be killed?
God wanted to be King of the Jews. He told His prophet Samuel: “They have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods.” (1 Samuel 8:7b-8) Samuel passed on the news that God wanted to be their king, but they rejected him and replied: “We want a (human) king over us. Then we will be like all other nations.” (1 Samuel 8:19b-20a)
As God often does, he gave the Jews over to their desires. God shows us through this piece of history that bad things, including persecution, happen when we want other kings besides Him. If the Jews had chosen God as their king, they wouldn’t have suffered through their Roman-appointed kings: Herod the Great, Herod Antipas, and now Herod Agrippa, and John the Baptist and John the Apostle wouldn’t have been beheaded. But God allowed it to show future generations we are better off when we choose God to be our king.
When we obey God, we will be blessed. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and obey it.” (Luke 11:28) I’m so glad you’re with me today. Bible Study pays off!
Father, I praise You for Your Word that enables me to obey You. I want to obey, not only to be blessed, but to show my love for you. Help me always check my throne and make sure you’re on it. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.