6 Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. 7 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. 8 And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” 9 And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. 11 When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”
12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.
There is a little hint here to see how serious this is. When you were in jail in the first century, you spent your days handcuffed to a Roman soldier. They had 3 shifts a day and would switch off and a new, relieved, and ready to start the workday soldier, would take the new spot next to the prisoner.
If you were a really nasty criminal that needed extra security, you’d get each hand locked to a soldier. The majority of your day and night — eating, sleeping, using the bathroom — was spent locked to these soldiers.
Peter has been here for about a week. His trial and certain execution have been held off for the feast of unleavened bread (Passover) and the whole church has been praying for him since these same leaders killed James recently. If they killed James, the leader of the church in Jerusalem, they won’t hesitate to kill Peter too.
The angel told Peter to dress and put his shoes on. That’s another level of security they had. If you weren’t dressed or shoed enough to run away, you wouldn’t make it far in a getaway.
Unless you have an angel helping you.
Peter made it all of the way out of the jail, past numerous guards, before he realized it wasn’t a dream. His first stop was the people that had been praying for his rescue all week long.
God is building courage and boldness in His church. Sometimes we’re more like James, but sometimes we’re more like Peter. God is at work building His kingdom. Even still, today.
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