April 10, 2013
About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. 2 He killed fJames the brother of John gwith the sword, 3 and when he saw hthat it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during ithe days of Unleavened Bread. 4 And when he had seized him, he put him jin prison, delivering him over to four ksquads 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 lprayer for him was made to God by the church.
- Herod is a wicked king taking Peter to spite the Christians and excite the Jews.
- He guards Peter with four squads so that they can rotate watching him.
- The conjunction (but), in, “but earnest prayer was made”, is in essence saying that even though this was a tough scenario, Peter would be delivered.
- Earnest: Serious, intentional, purposeful, weighty, determined [we need to pray like this]
6 Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, mbound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. 7 And behold, nan angel of the Lord ostood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. pHe struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And qthe chains fell off his hands. 8 And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and rput on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around 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 sthought 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. tIt 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 ucame to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that vthe Lord has sent his angel and wrescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”
-Sometimes it seems as if God waits until that last minute to step in the path of evil snares. His timing is perfect; His plans are sure.
- Peter was sleeping. His rest showed that He trusted God enough to let his heart at ease to sleep.
- He was bound with two chains – showing the sovereignty of God.
- The angel had to wake him up. He told him to get dressed himself and put on his sandals; he knew that they would be leaving and that Peter would need them. He also didn’t make him leave them behind, but in faith he patiently let him get dressed.
- He led him through the different guard stations and then through the iron gate. [Sometimes God takes us through processes and steps instead of fixing our problem all at once. This allows us to marvel at His sovereign hand and increase in faith.]
- The angel did all that Peter could not; he let Peter obey. What does that mean for us? What does God call us to do while He is doing what we cannot?
- Peter rejoiced
12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of xJohn whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and ywere praying. 13 And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, za servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 Recognizing Peter’s voice, ain 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 bhis angel!” 16 But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. 17 But cmotioning 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 dJames and to ethe brothers.”1 Then he departed and went to another place.
- He went and joined the gathered Church. They were praying still.
- They didn’t believe that Peter had been set free. Do we doubt our prayer?
- Peter continued knocking (he was probably nervous). Then he insisted that they keep quiet. “Really Guys!”
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 fordered that they should be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent time there.
– This just reveals the awful heart of Herod. He was still blind to the glory of God. “Seeing, they did not see” (Matthew 13:14)