As we continue to look at Acts, it is now time for chapter 12. This one is an interesting one, and one that I have taught on before. It is about Herod killing Christians. First he kills James, and then he takes Peter prisoner. He was waiting for Passover in order to kill Peter then, God had other plans.
Verses 5-17 is about Peter being freed from prison, and I would like to look at this. 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 chains between 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 recognized 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, he declared to them 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.
There are two things that I would like to draw to your attention. Firstly, when you are praying for people, do you ask for ‘do-able’ things or do you ask for the ‘impossible’? The people praying for Peter were probably praying for him to be released, but not miraculously. They probably expected some kind of pardon or release, that is why they were not expecting Peter. With God, ALL things are possible, I for one need to start praying for the seemingly ‘impossible’ and not for what I think that I can expect. The other question is, “Do we actually expect our prayers to be answered?”. Do we? Did Peter’s friends actually expect him to be freed? If so, why were they so surprised to see him? Yes, it may have been because they weren’t expecting to see him so soon, like I said, but they even refused to believe it when Mary said that he was there. Surely if you are praying that someone is released, and then someone tells you that the person is at the door, you go and check.
Do you dare to believe that God can do the impossible, and then do you expect Him to deliver? This is difficult, it is something that I too need to work on. Join me in believing that God can (and will) do the impossible!