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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.

 

Verses 11-18 reveal something of unbelieving prayer among believers.

12:11

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.”

Peter finally realized that he had not experienced a vision but that what happened to him was realand “certain.”

12:12

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.

Peter sought refuge in Mary’s house, the mother of John Mark. Many were praying for Peter in her house. Mary was probably a woman of means. John Mark would later play a role in the missionary enterprise of the first century.

12:13

And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer.

Mary’s servant Rhoda answered Peter’s knock at the outer gate.

12:14

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.

Because of her “gladness,” Rhoda did not open the gate.  She immediately returned to the house to announce that Peter stood at the gate.

12:15

But they said to her, “You are beside yourself!” Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, “It is his angel.”

Those at the prayer meeting did not believe that God had answered prayer. They told Rhoda that she was crazy. They argued that she saw an entity apart from Peter himself. Although Peter was the burden of their prayers, they did not expect God to answer them. Rhoda insisted that it was Peter at the outer gate.

12:16

Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.

Peter persisted in knocking because of the danger he faced from Rome. God answered the prayer of the church while they debated whether Rhoda’s report was true. When those in the prayer meeting finally opened the door, they were “astonished” that God had met their prayer.

12:17

But motioning to them with his hand to keep silent, he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison.

Peter called on the crowd to be silent. He explained how the Lord delivered him from prison; he gave credit to the Lord for delivering him. The phrase “the Lord had brought him out of prison” clearly indicates God’s intervention in Peter’s trial. Peter’s deliverance had nothing to do with his personalingenuity.

And he said, “Go, tell these things to James and to the brethren.”

Peter instructed them to go tell “James” and “the brethren.” Peter then left for another location because Herod hunted him down. The “James” of this verse is the half-brother of Jesus (Mark 6:3), who eventually became the leader of the Jerusalem church (Acts 15:13; 21:18). He was one of the three “pillars” of the church (Gal 2:9). James was a witness of the resurrection of Jesus (1 Co 15:7) and, thus, an apostle (Gal 1:19).

Peter’s concern to inform James of what happened to him reflects the status James had reached in the Christian community (Ga 2:1-10). This James was also the author of the epistle of James.

And he departed and went to another place.

After Peter left Jerusalem, James became the leader of the Jerusalem church. We do not hear of Peter again in the book of Acts until the Jerusalem Conference (Acts 15:7). The “another place” is unknown. However, there is no evidence that Peter ever went to Rome.

PRINCIPLE:

People may bind Christians, but prayer is always loosed.

APPLICATION:

New Testament Christians took prayer seriously (Acts 1:14, 24; 4:24-31; 6:4, 6; 9:40; 10:2,4,9,31; 12:12; 13:3; 14:23; 16:25; 22:17; 28:8). Christians pray especially during crisis and difficulty in their lives.

Christians often display not hard unbelief but soft skepticism in prayer. God does immeasurably more than we ask or imagine (Eph 3:20). There is power in prayer (Jas 5:16). Divine activity operates in the atmosphere of prayer. If in a crisis we do not enter prayer, we depend on something other than God.

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