Acts 12:6-19 (click to view Scripture below)
Our reading today is an exhilarating account of Peter’s release from jail that was made possible, in the middle of the night, by an angel. Peter is a bit foggy from sleep and for a while thinks it’s a dream or vision, even as he follows the angel’s instruction. At some point he “wakes up” and realizes this isn’t a dream (vs 11,12) and he is free from jail. The story continues as he heads to a friend’s home and a young girl answers Peter’s knock at the door. Rhoda is so excited by seeing Peter that she doesn’t even open the door but tells the people in the house it’s Peter outside. They essentially tell her she is out of her mind and suggest its Peter’s angel. When this all gets sorted out, everyone is shocked at what has occurred, but they immediately begin sharing the good news of Peter’s miraculous release from jail.
This account is actually humorous and sobering at the same time. It’s humorous because this series of events shows believers who are simply shocked at the actual answer to their prayers showing up at the door. It is sobering in that folks fervently praying, don’t have the capacity to acknowledge that God could answer their prayer for Peter’s release.
Have you ever seen a request on your Facebook page for prayer from a friend? You respond by saying you are praying. All too often this response is you simply saying, we hear you and are concerned for you. If we do pray and God would answer, would we be as surprised as the folks Peter went to visit after his miraculous release from jail?
Vice President, ChildHope
Prayer: Lord, we believe you are a God of miracles. Help us with our unbelief that when we pray you can actually answer our prayers.
6 Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. 7 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. 8 And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” 9 And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him.11 When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”
12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.13 And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. 15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” 16 But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers.” Then he departed and went to another place.
18 Now when day came, there was no little disturbance among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. 19 And after Herod searched for him and did not find him, he examined the sentries and ordered that they should be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent time there.
Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.