A Miraculous Escape - 31 Days in Acts

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Today we come to Acts ch.12 with one of my favourite Bible stories.

It has a girl called Rhoda in it (which was the name of my friend at school many years ago who died when she was 17 years old but she was a Christian so one day I'll see her again) and some very natural and unnatural behaviour.

At the start of the chapter we are back learning more about Peter having been looking at the friendship between Barnabas & Saul at the end of chapter 11 in We All Need to be Encouragers.

Verses 1- 4 tell us that the time is just before Passover and there has been another christian martyr James one of the original 12 disciples who was the brother of John.  James was put to death by King Herod and now Herod has decided to go after Peter as well because the Jews were happy with his killing of James.

Herod arrests Peter and puts him in jail under many guards until after Passover time.

But when that time comes in verses 5 - 11 Peter is no longer in prison as the prayers of the church have been answered in a miraculous way while Peter was asleep

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. 

        First an angel appears.
              Then a light shone.
                    And No-one unlocked the chains.

The angel tells Peter to get dressed and to follow him.
Peter obeys but doesn't feel like the events are real.

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.

They pass 2 guard posts and no-one stops them or apparently even sees them because we all know they would have tried to stop them if they had seen them.  This makes me think back to when the light shone in chapter 9  on the Damascus Road and then Saul was blinded for three days.

Then the gate opened and the angel disappeared.

Only God can orchestrate a Miraculous Escape.

Peter was now safely away from the prison and no-one was chasing him.

Then Peter realises that God has set him free.

Peter now makes a surprise visit to a prayer meeting in verses 12 - 17 but because he had been in prison he may not have been aware of this prayer meeting even though it was specifically for him.

He comes to the house of the Mother of John Mark and this is were we meet Rhoda.
She opens the gate to him and recognises him so runs to tell the others inside praying that Peter is there but in her joy, haste and excitement she forgets to open the gate.

I see myself in Rhoda, I know I probably would have done the same thing.  Such a human thing to do in the excitement of the moment.

So the prayer meeting is interrupted with good news and the people there don't believe it at first.  Now we mustn't think badly of them because again we are all human and in a moment like that the surprise of it all could be rather unbelievable and most of us would have probably spoken quickly in much the same way.  Some people may say this showed unbelief but I think it was just plain surprise.

With more knocking the people see it is Peter and when he quickly explains what happened he tells then to inform James and the rest of the believers and he leaves them.

I really like verse 17 because again I think we see something of human nature once more.

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. 

This could mean that he didn't want them to be noisy and draw the attention of anyone nearby so that he would be discovered or it could mean that he didn't want them all talking and asking questions and being so excited they didn't listen to him properly.
In a way I think I would go with the second thought here.  I think it was more like you need to be quiet and listen to the great thing God has just done for me, because it is important that in our excitement or joy or hurt or worry or any other human feeling, we still see how God is working and keep our focus on Him.

We need to keep focused on God in our excitement or our fear.

To finish we need to have a quick look at verses 18 - 24 because although a great miracle had happened in Peter's life there was another life that was effected and that was the life of Herod.  The King had to blame someone when he now had no idea where Peter had gone so he took the lives of the guards.  Later he was exalted by the people and they were referring to him as a god while he relished in the attention and God took his life for that offence of taking glory when glory is only due to God. 

23 Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died.

The world may see things from one perspective but God sees them from His perspective and He will continue to work.

24 But the word of God grew and multiplied.

I'm trying to read and write about the Book of Acts for 31 Days so please come back and join me for some notes & some thoughts each day. 

As the month goes on each Day's Link will be added in 

Interested to know more about the Book of Acts?
Then Try these commentaries

Or this Bible Study

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