While Peter was held in prison, the church offered earnest prayer to God for him.The night before Herod was going to bring Peter’s case forward, Peter was asleep between two soldiers and bound with two chains, with soldiers guarding the prison entrance. Suddenly an angel from the Lord appeared and a light shone in the prison cell. After nudging Peter on his side to awaken him, the angel raised him up and said, “Quick! Get up!” The chains fell from his wrists. The angel continued, “Get dressed. Put on your sandals.” Peter did as he was told. The angel said, “Put on your coat and follow me.” Following the angel, Peter left the prison. However, he didn’t realize the angel had actually done all this. He thought he was seeing a vision. They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself. After leaving the prison, they proceeded the length of one street, when abruptly the angel was gone. At that, Peter came to his senses and remarked, “Now I’m certain that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod and from everything the Jewish people expected.” Realizing this, he made his way to Mary’s house. (Mary was John’s mother; he was also known as Mark.) Many believers had gathered there and were praying. When Peter knocked at the outer gate, a female servant named Rhoda went to answer. She was so overcome with joy when she recognized Peter’s voice that she didn’t open the gate. Instead, she ran back in and announced that Peter was standing at the gate. “You’ve lost your mind!” they responded. She stuck by her story with such determination that they began to say, “It must be his guardian angel.” Meanwhile, Peter remained outside, knocking at the gate. They finally opened the gate and saw him there, and they were astounded. He gestured with his hand to quiet them down, then recounted how the Lord led him out of prison. He said, “Tell this to James and the brothers and sisters.” Then he left for another place.
Food For Thought:
There was so much security! So many obstacles! Peter didn’t even realize what was happening in his sleep. It was too good to be true. It should have been impossible. Yet, Peter escaped from prison! Rhoda didn’t even open the door for Peter when she realized it was him. The believers suggested she had lost her mind when she told them he was there. It was too good to be true. It should have been impossible! Yet there he was! Peter was astounded by the angel. Rhoda was astounded by Peter’s voice. The gathered believers were astounded when they saw Peter at the gate. We should count on being amazed, astounded, and awed by the ways God will work in our lives. Keep watch! God is on the move!
God, I know you show up in hopeless situations. I know you are able to help set people free from the things that imprison them. I know you are more powerful than the obstacles we see before us. Give me faith to believe your incredible power when things seem truly impossible. Amen.