|Peter freed from prison Acts 12:1-18
1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. 2 Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 3 And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread. 4 So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads* of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover. 5 Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. 6 And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with 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. ” 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. 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. 13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 When she recognised 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, the declared 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. 18 Then, as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers about what had become of Peter.
* a squad is a group of four.
|Peter’s escape from prison in Acts 12 inspires me. He was facing certain death in the morning and had no possible way of escape. He peacefully slept. Not only was his body at rest, his mind and heart were too. Peter had the peace that Jesus spoke of in Philippians 4:7, the peace that “passeth all understanding.”
We must be like Peter! We must have that level of confidence and trust in God, so that when we are trapped and face harm or downfall in some way, we still have peace. Peter couldn’t have slept if he was worried. When you are blameless, you will have peace. This is why we must seek to be in God’s will, so that we will not feel condemned in times of struggle.
Note that Peter didn’t compare himself to his friend James who had already been killed. If he had focused on James, he would have started to fear for his own life. In the same way, let us not compare our situations with that of others. God at times deals with us all differently.
Often when in a desperate situation, we try and do all we can to make things better – we call our friends, we borrow money or try to come up with a plan. At times, the hardest thing to do is nothing. Our frenzied activity shows a lack of trust in God. Let’s try to take God at His word. God wants us to “stand still and see His salvation” (Exodus 14:13).
As we see in verses 6 to 10, God miraculously rescued Peter, allowing him to bypass several obstacles in his way, i.e. the soldiers, the chains and the gate. The great thing is that Peter didn’t even know what was happening around him. Similarly today, in your life and mine, as we depend on the Lord, He can deliver us too. Often the Lord moves on our behalf in ways we cannot perceive.
Take courage – God loves you and is able to work in your ‘prison’ just like in Peter’s.