Every year during the Easter season, the Lectionary takes us on a trip through the Acts of the Apostles. Yesterday’s selected passage was Acts 11:19-26. Today’s passage was Acts 12:24-13:5a. What got my attention today was the verses in-between, which tell of Peter’s arrest by Herod and his rescue by an angel.
First we learn that “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 pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also.” (Acts 12:1-3).
Clearly, Peter was arrested after the execution of James. What then, is the first thing that Peter does after his escape? He goes to the house of Mary, the mother of John (also called Mark) where “Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quite and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. ‘Tell James and the brothers about this,’ he said, and then he left for another place.” (Acts 12:17) James also figures prominently at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:13).
If you’re going to have this many people running around with the same names (John, James, and Mary), it would really help to have surnames to tell them apart, especially when they’re mere verses from each other!