Around A.D. 42, to please the Jews, king Herod went on the offensive against Christians. First, he captured James, the brother of John and beheaded him. Next the king sought out to do the same with the apostle Peter. However, since the capture of Peter coincided with Passover, the apostle’s execution was delayed until a more appropriate time, following the Jewish festival commemorating their liberation by God from slavery in Egypt, and their birth as a nation under the leadership of Moses.
“5 Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.” (Acts 12:5)
Peter was more than an apostle of the risen Christ, he was an anointed leader of the Christian church, respected and loved by all those within the church. Those within the church prayed to God for his deliverance from the hands of king Herod, and from certain execution, without ceasing.
“6 And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. 7 Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands. 8 Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did. And he said to him, “Put on your garment and follow me.” (Acts 12:6-8)
On the eve of his execution, once Passover had concluded, as Peter was sleeping in his cell, bound between two guards. Two other guards stood at the prison door, to prevent escaping or rescue. This was typical Roman guard for prisoners awaiting execution.
As he slept, an angel of the Lord visited Peter, waking him and freeing him of his chains. Then, the angel instructed the apostle to stand-up, get dressed and follow him.
“9 So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.” (Acts 12:9-10)
Peter obeyed the angel and followed him in spite of the fact he felt this was a vision, a dream, as the apostle had just been awakened from his sleep. As they both went out from the prison, the angel departed from Peter leaving him alone in the city.
“11 And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.” 12 So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying.” (Acts 12:11-12)
Eventually, Peter realized he was indeed free from his chains, and out of the prison where he had been awaiting execution. He became convinced his rescue was divinely appointed. Then, he sought refuge at Mary’s house, where many were gathered to pray for Peter’s deliverance.
“13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate. 15 But they said to her, “You are beside yourself!” Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, “It is his angel.” 16 Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to keep silent, he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Go, tell these things to James and to the brethren.” And he departed and went to another place.” (Acts 12:13-16)
Since it was night time, and those gathered at Mary’s house feared capture for their faith, a maid servant was assigned to monitoring the gate where Peter stood, and spoke. Her reaction to the apostle’s voice was of great surprise, and prompted her to run back inside the house and share the great news with the others. Because it was Jewish tradition to assume everyone had a guardian angel, those gathered assumed it was Peter’s angel who was at the door, rather than the apostle himself.
When they opened the door and saw it was Peter who stood at the door in the flesh, they were astonished that his life was spared and that their prayers were answered. Immediately, Peter requested the good news be shared with James, the brother of Jesus and leader of the Christian church in Jerusalem.
“18 Then, as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers about what had become of Peter. 19 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.” (Acts 12:18-19)
The next day, the soldiers on guard were baffled when they realized Peter had escaped. Because of this, the four men were tried and sentenced to be executed by king Herod. After this judgment, Herod left Jerusalem for Caesarea, the Roman capital in Palestine, where he conducted games in honor of the emperor Claudius.
The miracle in this scripture is clear. The power of prayer is evident, as prayer ignites the law of reaction, by which god delivered the apostle Peter from prison, and spared him from certain execution at the hands of king Herod. Let’s pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Luke,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.