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Verse 18-19: “Then, as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers about what had become of Peter. But when Herod had searched for him and not found him, he examined the guards and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judea to Caesarea, and stayed there.”

In the movie No Way Out, Gene Hackman plays married Secretary of Defense David Brice, who is having an affair with socialite Susan Atwell, played by Sean Young. Susan has fallen in love with another man, and they have been recently dating. One night, she ushers him out of the house before Brice shows up. Brice can only see a silhouette of the man leaving, but the man can see Brice clearly. Tempers flare between Brice and Atwell, and in a violent outburst, he kills her accidentally. In an effort to cover up his misdeed, he and his loyal aide plan to state that the girl was killed by “Yuri”, a Russian mole buried somewhere in Washington, D.C. They even transfer a heroic Navy commander named Tom Farrell, played by Kevin Costner, to lead the investigation. In an ironic twist, it was Farrell who was dating Atwell; he knows about the affair, but she promised him that she was going to break it off. Now, he must lead an investigation to find this “Yuri”, all the while trying to cover his involvement AND get evidence to link Brice to the crime.

To quote an old story-telling comedian: “I told you all that to tell you this.”

In the penultimate climax to the movie, Farrell and Brice are confronting each other about the crime. Brice’s loyal aide, trying to help his boss, commits suicide by shooting himself in front of the two, as security breaks in. Brice is able to use his aide as “the fall guy” and to accuse him of being Yuri, bringing the investigation to a close. (Farrell later manages to mail incriminating evidence to the CIA, implicating Brice).

A high-ranking official pinning the blame on an underling…just the stuff of movies? Sadly, no. That is just what Herod did! After finding nothing to explain Peter just “disappearing” from the prison, and with the guards offering no explanation that Herod wanted to hear, he again refuses to acknowledge that God spirited him away. So, he takes the politically convenient avenue and has all the guards put to death. “Not my fault”, he probably thinks.

There are those in our world who wouldn’t stand for admitting guilt, and would rather pin the blame on the innocent; those who can’t accept responsibility for what they did. But wait…Herod has sown the wind, and is about to reap the whirlwind in the next verses.

Something to think about.

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