It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.
So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.
Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; 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, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.
Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”
When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!”
“You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.”
But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell James and the other brothers and sisters about this,” he said, and then he left for another place.
In the morning, there was no small commotion among the soldiers as to what had become of Peter. After Herod had a thorough search made for him and did not find him, he cross-examined the guards and ordered that they be executed.
Life is hard sometimes. It is safe to assume that you are either going through the hard stuff or you have persevered and made it to the other side. The passage you just read is about a man who was persecuted for his faith in Jesus, escaped and lived to tell about it. I’m writing this devotion for those who have been through a tough situation and have escaped it. Peter’s rescue in Acts 12 helps us learn how to successfully move past a trial by asking:
- What happened?
- With whom do I need to share my story?
- Where do I go from here?
After Peter was rescued from his persecution he “came to himself”. This was a “Wow, what just happened?” moment. When Peter came to himself, he explained what he knew, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me.”
Take a moment to describe what you know about the tough situation you came through. After you came to yourself, what did you know without a doubt? If possible, like Peter, see if you can sum your description up in one statement.
When we have made it to the other side of a tough situation we want to share what happened. When it had dawned on Peter what had happened he went to his friends, the early church, and explained how the Lord had rescued him from the clutches of Herod and from all that his adversaries were anticipating. He went to a home where many of his friends were earnestly praying for him. Emotions were high. Emotions were so high that the comical scene described in the above passage most likely made you laugh out loud when you read it. We don’t always know what to do with ourselves when our prayers are answered. Rhoda sure didn’t! Once they got past the initial excitement of seeing Peter safe and sound, “Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison.”
Who specifically needs to hear that you made it through your tough situation? Take a moment to list those who need to hear your story. Maybe they have been praying for you and need the encouragement of knowing that you made it through and that there is hope they will make it through too.
Finally, after Peter came to himself and testified to others that God had rescued him he left for another place. He didn’t get stuck in time, retelling one victory story over and over at the expense of expanding new territory for the Church. His response to being persecuted and rescued was to keep moving. His next step was to continue the work he had started before his imprisonment. He continued to lead onward with great momentum in laying the foundations of the early church.
If you have been in a tough situation where do you go from here? Do you remember what good thing you were moving toward before life got out of sorts and derailed your plans?
Peter’s rescue in Acts 12 helps us learn how to successfully move past a trial by asking, what happened, who do I need to share my story with, and where do I go from here?
Father, give me the awareness of all that you have brought me through, the courage to share what you did and the wisdom to know my next step in living out your plan for my life. In Jesus name, Amen
To Fly Again: Surviving the Tailspins of Life by: Gracia Burnham
Today’s post was written by Beth Holland.
Beth Holland lives to make a difference that will encourage, inspire and impact lives for eternity. She loves to write, travel, read and work on significant projects. You can often find her spending time with her family at local parks, museums or the beach. Being the mother of two grown children, son Micah (soon to be married to Alyssa) and daughter Ashley Elizabeth and married for over 30 years to the love of her life, Dan, is what she is most thankful for. She can be found on Sunday mornings at Real Life Christian Church | Kaley Campus.