patience to keep knocking
Acts 12:6-19 (JDV)
Acts 12:6 When Herod was about to bring him out for trial, that very night Peter, tied up with two chains, is sleeping between two soldiers, while the sentries in front of the door guarded the prison.
Acts 12:7 Notice, an agent of the Lord appeared, and a light shone in the cell. Striking Peter on the side, he raised him up and said, “Quick, get up!” And the chains fell off his wrists.
Acts 12:8 “Get dressed,” the agent told him, “and put on your sandals.” And he did. “Wrap your cloak around you,” he told him, “and follow me.”
Acts 12:9 So he went out and followed, and he did not know that what the agent did was really happening, but he thought he was seeing a vision.
Acts 12:10 After they passed the first and second guards, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened to them by itself. They went outside and passed one street, and suddenly the agent left him.
Acts 12:11 When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent his agent and rescued me from Herod’s grasp and from all that the Jewish people expected.”
Acts 12:12 As soon as he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many had been brought together and were praying.
Acts 12:13 He knocked at the door of the outer gate, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer.
Acts 12:14 She recognized Peter’s voice, and because of her joy, she did not open the gate but ran in and announced that Peter was standing at the outer gate.
Acts 12:15 “You’re delirious!” they told her. But she kept insisting that it was true, and they said, “It’s his agent.”
Acts 12:16 Peter, however, kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were amazed.
Acts 12:17 Motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. “Tell these things to James and the brothers,” he said, and he left and went to another place.
Acts 12:18 At daylight, there was a great disturbance among the soldiers as to what had become of Peter.
Acts 12:19 After Herod had searched and did not find him, he interrogated the guards and ordered their execution. Then Herod went down from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there.
patience to keep knocking
The story of Peter’s rescue from prison has several interesting points.
This passage begins and ends with a reference to Herod. It is a prelude to the story of Herod’s death, which will come in the next few verses. This passage explains Herod’s motive for stopping his intense persecution, and suddenly fleeing to Caesarea. Having a prisoner escape in such a bizarre fashion apparently spooked him.
Notice also how both Peter and the other believers did not quite understand what was taking place. They had prayed for a miracle, but when the miracle was actually happening, they could not quite figure it out.
I wonder why the iron gate opened by itself, but Peter had to stand knocking for a while at the door of the outer gate of the house where the congregation was praying.
In the process of fulfilling the mission God has given us, there will be miracles, but there will also be mysteries that we will not fully understand.
Lord, thank you for our mission. Give us all the insight we need to carry it out, and the patience to keep knocking when we need to.