October 11

Acts 11-12, Psalm 124

The Nuremberg Defense was a legal strategy employed by many of the defendants at the Nuremberg war crimes trial seeking to convict Nazi perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during WWII. Many of those defendants claimed that they were not guilty of the charges as they were "only following orders". We are all responsible for who we follow and who or what we trust. Mindlessly following orders will not be an adequate defense on Earth or when we come before Jesus before entering eternity.

Herod trusted in himself, his popularity and his standing with the people. We read in Acts 12:1-3, we read, "Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. Then he killed James the brother of John by the sword. And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also...". This trust in himself eventually leading to his self-deification in 12:21-23 led to his death at the hands of the angel of the Lord. We read in 12:4 that, "So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him..." The soldiers trusted in the authority of the king and the government despite being chained to an innocent man. After the miraculous escape from prison by Peter by the angel, and the guards having no answer as to how it happened, we read in 12:19 that Herod put them to death. We read in 12 :5 that the Church did the right thing before God and for Peter, "but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church." They did the right thing but did not trust that God was capable of delivering him, as we read their response to Peter's knocking at the gate and the words of Rhoda, "But they said to her, "You are beside yourself!" Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, "It is his angel." Finally we read about Peter who now thoroughly trusted Jesus. Though Peter was about to be beheaded the next day we read that he was sound asleep in 12:6, completely at peace trusting in Jesus. Jesus had already told Peter in John 21:18-19, "but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish." This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God....". Peter knew that he was safe despite the improbability of his situation since he was still young and God promised him he would not die until he was old. Also Peter had no fear since as Paul said in Philippians 1:21, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

So we must also all ask ourselves what we truly trust in. Do we put our trust in our nation, in government, in family, in our education or in God. We are told by Solomon in Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths." Jesus said to the believers in John 8:31-32, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Jesus clarifies what the path to true peace is, to wholeheartedly put our trust in Him.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster