Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Excuse me, but Peter's at the door

This week's Bible Lesson includes Peter's escape from prison. He had been arrested and condemned to die. King Herod was to have him brought out and executed the next morning. The disciples had gathered and 'prayer was made without ceasing' by the members of the church.

This story is recorded in Acts, so it is Luke telling it as he must have heard it from Peter himself.

Peter was asleep, bound in chains, with guards on either side of him. They had also fallen asleep. There was no need to stay alert as the prison keepers were also on duty. But God sent an angel to Peter. The angel 'smote him on the side', and raised him up. As Peter stood up his chains fell off. The angel has him get dressed and put on his shoes. Then they leave the prison, passing through several wards to the outer gate. Pete thinks he is dreaming. The gate opens of its own accord and Peter is outside the prison. The angel leads him through several more streets and then departs.

At this point Peter is able to make his way to the house of Mary, mother of John, where many were gathered praying for Peter. The details Luke includes are so wonderful. Although it is not in this Lesson it is worth reading the rest of it. Peter knocks at the door and a damsel named Rhoda answers it. There are few places in the Bible where women are mentioned by  name. How sweet that this young girl is mentioned.

She is so excited to hear Peter's voice that she leaves him standing outside and runs to tell the others. What do the others do? Are they as excited as she is? Do they jump up and go to get Peter? No! They tell her she is mad. She continues to affirm that it was really him. Doesn't that sound authentic, a child insisting something is true to an unbelieving adult? But these people had been praying for Peter's safety and HE WAS OUTSIDE, but they didn't believe their prayers had been answered.

Meanwhile Peter keeps knocking. They open the door and are astonished! He shushes them and explains how the Lord had worked this rescue. He asks them to go tell James and he himself goes somewhere else.

How often do we pray and pray about something and then are not receptive to the answered prayer? If someone says we are healed, we tell them they are mad or mistaken. Or shush them, saying not to bother us, we are praying?  God sends his angels, His messengers, His messages, and answers our prayers.

Are you listening? Be prepared to 'go answer the door'.

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