The night before Peter was to be placed on trial, he was asleep, fastened with two chains between two soldiers. Others stood guard at the prison gate.
Suddenly, there was a bright light in the cell, and an angel of the Lord stood before Peter. The angel struck him on the side to awaken him and said, "Quick! Get up!" And the chains fell off his wrists.
Then the angel told him, "Get dressed and put on your sandals." And he did. "Now put on your coat and follow me," the angel ordered.
So Peter left the cell, following the angel. But all the time he thought it was a vision. He didn't realize it was actually happening.
They passed the first and second guard posts and came to the iron gate leading to the city, and this opened for them all by itself. So they passed through and started walking down the street, and then the angel suddenly left him.
Peter finally came to his senses. "It's really true!" he said. "The Lord has sent His angel and saved me from Herod and from what the Jewish leaders had planned to do to me!"
When he realized this, he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many were gathered for prayer.
He knocked at the door in the gate, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to open it.
When she recognized Peter's voice, she was so overjoyed that, instead of opening the door, she ran back inside and told everyone, "Peter is standing at the door!"
"You're out of your mind!" they said. When she insisted, they decided, "It must be his angel."
* Time for coffee before we keep praying *
Meanwhile, Peter continued knocking. When they finally opened the door and saw him, they were amazed.
He motioned for them to quiet down and told them how the Lord had led him out of prison. "Tell James and the other brothers what happened," he said. And then he went to another place.
At dawn there was a great commotion among the soldiers about what had happened to Peter.
Herod Agrippa ordered a thorough search for him. When he couldn't be found, Herod interrogated the guards and sentenced them to death. Afterward Herod left Judea to stay in Caesarea for a while.]
Peter’s realisation was a global big picture awakening as he was standing there outside the prison in the street, as to where he was and what he had to do. This was really true and not a dream or a vision. He said to himself it seems, "The Lord has sent His angel and saved me from Herod and from what the Jewish leaders had planned to do to me!” Putting it all together, he must have realised exactly where he was and where the closest place of refuge was. He goes to (John) Mark’s mum’s place. We learn for the first time Mark’s mum is yet another Mary. It seems Peter realised that the church would be meeting in Mary’s place to pray for him. Whether he knew they were meeting there to pray for him, or he knew the church always met there for a prayer meeting is unclear. But bottom line Peter realised the church would be gathering at Mary’s house. We have already been told in verse 4 "while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.” Remember I told you that the church was praying throughout the time Peter was in prison. We know that he has been in there overnight and was facing execution the next day. Remember he escaped from prison sometime during the night in the wee small hours. When did you decide to break out? Just after midnight or just after 3.00 am? We don’t know exactly when the angel came to get Peter out of prison but one thing is clear it was during the night.
In other words somewhere between the last watch of the night Peter is standing at the door in the gate outside Mark’s mum, Mary’s house, where the church are very earnestly praying for him. It is not the door of the house as such but the door in the gate to compound or the courtyard to the house itself. Rhoda, the servant girl come to open the door or answer the knock. She was not likely to have opened the door without asking who was there at the time of the night. It is not likely therefore that she saw Peter’s face, but we are told she recognised his voice. She knew instantly it was Peter. So why didn't she open the door? Instead she left him standing there BECAUSE OF HER EXCITEMENT OR JOY and ran back inside to tell everyone that “PETER IS AT THE DOOR”.
They said to Rhoda:
You are mad.
You are maniacal.
You are crazy!
You are off your head.
You are out of your mind.
You are raving like a maniac
You are delirious
You are insane
But she persistently and strongly and confidently affirmed that it was the truth.
But she contended obstinately
She confidently affirmed that it was even so.
But still she said, with decision, that it was so.
But she kept saying that it was Peter.
Yet she kept insisting that it was so.
But she continued to say that it was true.
But she insisted that it was true.
But she insisted that Peter was at the door.
But she kept insisting it was so.
But she constantly affirmed that it was even so.
But she insisted, holding it to be so.
She stuck by her story, insisting. They still wouldn't believe her
But she maintained that it was a fact.
But she confidently affirmed that it was even so.
When she insisted, they decided, "It must be his angel.”
What does that even mean, "it must be his angel”?
All of this interaction between Rhoda and the people in the prayer meeting must have taken some time.
And during all of that time Peter was still standing outside the door at a time when the soldiers are scouring the city for him.
In order for you to take in the full impact of what Luke is telling us we are going to take a coffee break. Not that they took a coffee break in the prayer meeting, there was too much excitement on Rhoda’s part and protestation on the part of the others. I doubt even if Peter had been standing in the room that they would have noticed him.
Ponder these things until the next Gemz.
There will always be someone who won’t believe what you say, don’t let it be you. Ian
How would you feel when everyone in the room doesn’t believe what you have just told them. Ian
Just once I hope you get an answer to prayer that blows your mind and everyone else’s in the room. Ian
Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t. Ian