In contrast the purpose of the church, their end, was to have Peter released, delivered. Their means was prayer, fervent prayer.
Herod threw all he had to contain one man. A jail and four squads of soldiers. A squad had 4 soldiers; so sixteen men. Sixteen men and a jail vs prayer. The people praying did not really believe it would work, when Peter showed up, they did not believe it. By the way their halting faith and the result of their prayer gives me hope. Because in reality they in large part reflect much of my attitude in prayer.
The outcome of the contrast between the ends and means of Herod and religion vs the church is stunning. All of the means that the tetrarch had at his disposal could not prevail against the prayer, the halting, unbelieving prayer of the saints. It was not a matter of the faith of those who prayed rather it was a matter of to whom those prayers were directed. This was about God’s purpose, His control, His sovereignty over one who thought himself important and one who was committed to the world’s system. He thought himself as one who could stand against what God was doing. We find in the next couple of paragraphs the end result of his delusion. We will leave that for tomorrow.