Hidden Cost


As savvy consumers, we usually try to avoid “hidden costs”—costs that are not typically included in the purchase price of an item. Hidden costs usually surface well after we possess the item for a while. In today’s text, the most powerful ruler in the region seems bent on the systematic dismemberment of the Christian movement by eliminating its apostolic leaders, the ones charged with sharing and spreading the message of Jesus. The gospel—the Good News, the priceless pearl, the hidden treasure, and the hope of the world—seems to share its costly price tag with those who choose to possess it and share it with others. Maybe not immediately, but eventually.

  • When has your faith in Christ actually cost you something?


12:1 About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. 2 He killed James the brother of John with the sword, 3 and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. 4 And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. What motivated King Herod to arrest Peter? What does this tell you about his character and priorities?
  2. The days of Unleavened Bread, the seven days following the Passover meal, were considered holy and not to be spoiled by an execution. Therefore, Peter, along with his close Christian friends and family, had to wait for his inevitable public execution. Can you recall a time when you had to wait in agonizing anticipation regarding a crisis in your life?
  3. What can the execution of James and the likely martyrdom of Peter teach us about the cost of following Christ?


Jesus never really hid the cost of being a disciple. Actually, he made it quite clear that following him would affect every other relationship (Matt. 10:37-38), would cost us our life (Matt. 10:39), and would, ultimately, be worth it (Matt. 13:44, 19:29). If anything related to the gospel is “hidden,” it’s the benefit, value, worthiness, and LIFE that has been purchased and given to us.

  • Pray from Colossians 3:1-4, personalizing it: If, then, I have been raised with Christ, I will seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. I will set my mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For I have died, and my life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is my life appears, then I also will appear with him in glory.
  • Make a list of the hidden benefits offered in the gospel, then take time to thank the Lord for each one.