Acts 12 begins with James the brother of John dead – beheaded by Herod. Herod knew that he was barely seated on the throne Rome had given him, because he was a Jewish convert, and Jewish law was clear that only a descendant of Jacob could be king. When he saw how happy it made the Jews when he murdered James, he arrested Peter, and announced that after Passover, he would kill him too.
But– there was fervent prayer happening at Mark’s Mom’s house. Therefore, Yahweh sent an angel to un-arrest Peter. Herod was so embarrassed and angry that he had the soldiers executed who had been assigned the impossible task of keeping Peter arrested.
Luke wrote that Herod then went to Caesarea. There, he gave a public address to the people of Tyre and Sidon. When they responded to it with cries of “This is the voice of a god, not a man!”, because Herod did not give praise to Yahweh, an angel of God struck him down and he was eaten by worms.
The chapter started with James dead, Peter in prison, and Herod triumphant. But – because the church prayed, it ended with Herod dead, Peter free, and God’s word triumphant.