About that time Herod the king... killed James the brother of John with the sword and when he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also.
It is one of the great scandals of our present age to see the terrible persecution of Christians in African countries and others and they are not even mentioned in the news media. It seems to be unimportant. Persecution and suffering have been there from the very start of the Christian church.
The sad story we read in Acts 12:1-2 tells about the suffering inflicted on the early church under King Herod Agrippa. In trying to be a friend of the High Priest and his group Herod harassed the Christians and had James, the brother of John executed. Poor James does not get much of a mention as the scene moves on to what happened to Peter. It is similar to today when the media quickly moves on to another story.
But let's not overlook James' martyrdom. James was one of the first disciples of Jesus, along with his brother and his friends Andrew and Peter. He was probably an outspoken character and may well have drawn attention to himself because of that. We are not told. The fact is, however, that James had become an apostle, one of Jesus' most trusted men, and he paid for it with his life. We honour him and are challenged by his courage.
Dear Lord, help me not to forget the faith and courage of believers like James, but to be ready to follow them. Amen.