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.
While Peter was kept in prison, the church prayed fervently to God for him. The very night before Herod was going to bring him out, Peter, bound with two chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while guards in front of the door were keeping watch over the prison. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him, saying, â€œGet up quickly.â€ And the chains fell off his wrists. The angel said to him, â€œFasten your belt and put on your sandals.â€ He did so. Then he said to him, â€œWrap your cloak around you and follow me.â€ Peter went out and followed him; he did not realize that what was happening with the angelâ€™s help was real; he thought he was seeing a vision. After they had passed the first and the second guard, they came before the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went outside and walked along a lane, when suddenly the angel left him. Then Peter came to himself and said, â€œNow I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hands of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.â€
2 Timothy 4:6-8,17-18
As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing. But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lionâ€™s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and save me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, â€œWho do people say that the Son of Man is?â€ And they said, â€œSome say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.â€ He said to them, â€œBut who do you say that I am?â€ Simon Peter answered, â€œYou are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.â€ And Jesus answered him, â€œBlessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.â€
Scripture passage from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright 1989, 1993, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.