It was around this time that King Herod began arresting and persecuting certain members of the Messianic community;
and he had Ya'akov, Yochanan's brother, put to death by the sword.
When Herod saw how much this pleased the Judeans, he went on to arrest Kefa as well. It was during the Days of Matzah,
so when Herod seized him, he threw him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each, with the intention of bringing him to public trial after Pesach.
So Kefa was being held under watch in prison, but intense prayer was being made to God on his behalf by the Messianic community.
The night before Herod was going to bring him to trial, Kefa was sleeping between two soldiers. He was bound with two chains; and guards were at the door, keeping watch over the prison.
Suddenly an angel of ADONAI stood there, and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Kefa's side and woke him. "Hurry! Get up!" he said; and the chains fell off his hands.
The angel said to him, "Put on your clothes and sandals," and he did. "Throw on your robe," he said, "and follow me!"
Going out, Kefa followed him but did not realize that what was happening through the angel was real - he thought he was seeing a vision.
Having passed a first guard and a second, they arrived at the iron gate leading to the city. This opened to them by itself, and they made their exit. They went down the length of one street, and suddenly the angel left him.
Then Kefa came to himself and said, "Now I know for sure that the Lord sent his angel to rescue me from Herod's power and from everything the Judean people were hoping for."
Realizing what had happened, he went to the house of Miryam the mother of Yochanan (surnamed Mark), where many people had gathered to pray.
He knocked at the outside door, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer.
She recognized Kefa's voice and was so happy that she ran back in without opening the door, and announced that Kefa was standing outside.
"You're out of your mind!" they said to her. But she insisted it was true. So they said, "It is his angel."
Meanwhile, Kefa kept knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were amazed.
Motioning to them with his hand to be quiet, he told them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison and said, "Tell all this to Ya'akov and the brothers." Then he left and went elsewhere.
When daylight came, there was no small commotion among the soldiers over what had become of Kefa.
Herod had a thorough search made for him, but they failed to find him, so he cross-examined the guards and ordered them put to death. Then Herod went down from Y'hudah to Caesarea and spent some time there.
Now Herod was very angry with the people of Tzor and Tzidon, so they joined together and sought an audience with him. After securing the support of Blastus, the king's chief personal servant, they asked for peace; because they depended on the king's lands for their food supply.
A day was set, and Herod in his royal robes sat on the throne and made a speech to them.
The mob cried out, "This is the voice of a god, not a man!"
At once, because Herod did not give the glory to God, an angel of ADONAI struck him down. He was eaten away by worms and died.
But the word of the Lord went on growing and being multiplied.
Bar-Nabba and Sha'ul, having completed their errand, returned from Yerushalayim, bringing with them Yochanan, surnamed Mark.