Year 2 Day 10
Read - Acts 12v6-19
Message - Scott Woodburn
Peter was forced to sleep between two soldiers. He was bound with chains and sentries outside the door were guarding the prison (v6). Peter was done for. There was simply no way he was going to get out of this predicament. In the 1980s the A-Team would often find themselves held captive in an old buidling or garage. However by the time the bad guys would return, the A-Team had made a tank out of carboard, chewing gum and three lumps of coal. The A-Team were hard to find but thankfully Peter didn't need them.
The church were passionate in prayer for Peter and the answer comes as Peter awakes at an angel's command (v7). His chains fell off (v7b) and the angel leads Peter past the guards and out the iron gate into the city (v10). Peter thought that he might have been experiencing another vision (v9) but as he walks down the street the angel departs and Peter realises that God had rescued him from Herod's hand (v11).
Meanwhile the church continued to pray for Peter as they gathered in the house of Mary (v12). Again we see their committment to prayer and yet when Peter literally knocks on their door they don't believe it. Rhoda tells the gathering that Peter is outside but they think she is out of her mind (v15a). She insisted that Peter was knocking at the door but they told her "It is his angel!" (v15b). Finally they were amazed when they saw the Apostle with their own eyes (v16).
Herod was not prepared to give up on his prize. The next day came the soldiers couldn't understand what had become of Peter (v18) and Herod's search for the Apostle was unsuccessful (v19). Peter was gone...safe in the hand of Almighty God.
I'm encouraged by these verses. We see a miraculous escape by the hand of God - there is nothing too hard for the Lord! We see a fellowship committed to prayer - here is the duty and privilege of the Christian church! We see that even those zealous for the things of God sometimes doubt the answers He provides - see the grace of God towards those weak in faith!
Regardless of the current strength of the church and regardless of the ferociousness of the current antichrist, the Lord answers prayer and He will not abandon His people. The current age might seem like a wilderness but the Lord breaks the chains and frustrates the enemy. We find a beautiful picture of how God cares for His church in the book of Revelation "But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time." (Revelation 12v14) The enemy rages, the Lord nourishes, the church will endure!
Q25 How doth Christ execute the office of a priest? Christ executeth the office of a priest, in his once offering up of himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice and reconcile us to God, and in making continual intercession for us.