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Peter’s Miraculous Escape from Prison July 29, 2016

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Acts 12:1-19a.

Summary: In this passage, King Herod began to persecute the church in Jerusalem; in particular, he executed James – the brother of John. He also imprisoned Peter, planning to execute him after the Passover feast; this spurred the church to pray earnestly for Peter. On the night before his execution, God sent an angel to free him from prison. He then went to the house of Mary – the mother of John Mark – and recounted this miracle to the astonished believers who had gathered there to pray for him. In the morning, King Herod executed the prison guards for their ostensible negligence regarding Peter.

Thoughts: In verse 5, we see that believers prayed fervently for Peter. Calvin offers some thoughts on this point in his commentary:

When we see our brothers persecuted by the wicked for preaching the Gospel, we must not be lazy and unmoved by their danger, or we shall be cheating them of the love we owe them and treacherously abandoning the confession of our faith. If we have common cause with them and especially if they are fighting for our safety, we forsake not only them but also Christ and ourselves.

While this passage demonstrates that God will overcome all of the obstacles that sinful men place in His path, it also demonstrates that earnest prayer plays some role in this regard. It is clear that when believers are persecuted, God calls their brethren to pray earnestly for them – as that action will bring more glory to Him when He defeats the persecutors. As a believer in a First World country, this passage is a helpful reminder for me to pray for my brethren in nations where religious freedom is not protected by laws.

I certainly hope to meet the servant girl Rhoda in the next life and learn more about her. If she was a believer before the events described in this passage, then how did she hear the Gospel message? Was she confident that God would perform a miracle and free Peter from his impending execution? Did she join the believers at Mary’s house in praying fervently for Peter? How did she respond to Peter’s account of the miracle that God performed? Did she help spread the Gospel message in Jerusalem and bring others to faith after the events described in this passage?

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