12 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. 5 So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.
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 round 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.
20 Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they came to him with one accord, and having persuaded Blastus, the king’s chamberlain, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king’s country for food.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- v1-3. King Herod is Herod Agrippa who started to persecute the Christians in a political move designed to please the friends he had made amongst the Jewish leaders. Arresting Peter during the Feast of Unleavened Bread was also strategic, since more Jews were in the city than usual, and Herod could thus impress the most number of people.
- v7-10. Besides the incredible miracle of the angel appearing and helping Peter escape, what is more remarkable is that none of the 4 guards on duty were aware of anything. We learn in v18 that the guards only realise that they had lost their prisoner in the morning!
- v5&12. We know it was evening time as Peter was asleep before the angel appeared. How encouraging it was to find the fellowship of believers praying steadfastly, no doubt partly for Peter’s safety and welfare. This is certainly a dramatic answer to prayer that would have only affirmed to the early church (and should teach us) about the power of prayer and intercession.
- v13-14. One gets the impression that Rhoda is named because this account of her being so joyful and excited that she forgets to open the door, could have been re-told in the early church as an amusing anecdote. How will we react when we encounter a miracle of God? Will astonishment distract us from praising Jesus?
submitted by Ashley Liew
PRAYING IN FAITH
Ask God to open the eyes of your heart and mind to see that He is in total control and is sovereign over all the earth, capable of miraculous signs and wonders.
For Your Five
Pray that Jesus will use each of you to encourage one another about His faithfulness in fulfilling His plan and purposes in each of your lives.
For Our Church
Pray that God will help us as a church to pray earnestly like the early church, with steadfast confidence that God will answer.