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. 13 And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate.
15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” 16 But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers.” Then he departed and went to another place.
Once Peter realizes that he’s been miraculously rescued from jail, he goes straight to the other believers. They are all certain that Peter is going to get killed by Herod just like James was killed.
The James that was killed was the brother of John. He shows up a few times in the Gospels and is sometimes called the son of Zebedee. He was arrested and killed before the Passover feast started, and now Peter has been in jail during the 7 days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
The church has been praying for him so hard and so long (ok 7 days) that they’ve lost hope even as they pray.
When their prayers are answered, they don’t even believe that Peter is outside shouting at the door.
I’ve been there more times than I’d like to admit!
Day 1: Pray with tears, gritting my teeth, on my knees. Come Lord!
Day 2: Pray for a bit in my living room chair in the early morning.
Day 3: Pray while I drive to work.
Day 5: Remember that I was praying for that thing. Pray while I drive to work. (I live 1.8 miles from my work btw.)
Day 6: Take a lunch walk and really pray on a bench for a good 10 minutes.
Day 8: Prayer is answered but I don’t notice.
Day 9: My wife says “Weren’t you praying for that?” And I celebrate and rejoice.
Maybe some of you can relate.
The thing is, none of this kept God from answering that prayer from day one. People like to quote Daniel’s prayer as being delayed for 29 days and “what would have happened if he would have stopped!”
Well, it doesn’t say. It says God heard his prayer.
And God hears ours too. Since Jesus died on the cross for our sins, rose from the dead and sent His Holy Spirit into us, we can come boldly before God and ask Him for things.
And He loves to answer and surprise us. He loves to build up our faith and confidence in Him.
Just think about that early church, and all that they were afraid of. They’ve just seen a living example that some of them are going to die, but some of them might just walk right out of prison hours before their execution.
The Lord is with us and He hears us. Continue to preach the Gospel.
(Note: the James mentioned at the end of this section is the brother of Jesus. He was still alive and was the head of the Jerusalem church.)
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