Acts 12:1-11 tells of the killing of James, the brother of John. King Herod saw that these actions of persecution pleased the Jews and continued the persecution by seizing Peter and putting him in prison. He was being guarded by four soldiers round the clock and King Herod intended to bring him out for a public trial after the Passover. I pick it up in verse 5 “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly PRAYING to God for him. The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. he struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrist. Did you get what I just wrote word for word from scripture? The circumstances mentioned in these verses put Peter in a world of hurt, except for one thing. The church was earnestly praying!! Does the prayer being more in earnest cause God to do things quicker? It could, but I don’t think the earnest part was for God, but for those praying. Earnest (def) – resulting from or showing sincere and intense conviction. The earnest part of their attitude in praying is a great example of a strong conviction that God will answer. Do you believe in miracles? I hope you do. If you have received Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith, that is one miracle you better believe will happen. By the way, that miracle did happen. You are saved and sealed. But, why believe one miracle and not another? Because it makes our human reasoning work so much easier. I have been a Christian many years and I have heard miracles from the Word of God explained away hundreds of times. Hundreds!! No exaggeration. Why do we do that? It could be we are chained to our human reasoning so much, we can’t have a full released faith that God can do the things He has promised. So sad. We should never put chains on our belief in what God can do and never put chains on God in any situation. The earnest prayer for Peter was a reflection of the believers, get this, believers…. faith. They believed in God and believed FOR God to move, and He did.
Here are the facts. An angel of the Lord came into that prison cell and woke up Peter and led him out to freedom. MIRACLE. Peter was in the midst of the miracle happening and didn’t fully realize that what was happening was actually happening!! But in the next few verses it says the angel told him to put on his sandals and his robe and follow him. He came to a gate and it opened for him. When they got safely away from the prison the angel left him. He was free!! It then says that Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating.” Even Peter had to come to grips with the realization that he was in the middle of a miracle happening. What would you have done if this happened to you? Would your first phone call have been to Fox News or CNN?
Tomorrow we will see exactly what Peter’s first move was after his miracle escape from those chains, chains, chains…..
Now, a few questions to ponder.
1. Do you believe in God for your salvation?
2. Do you believe in God for miracles?
3. Do you at times feel like your faith is in chains?
4. Do you believe God still does miracles?
5. Do you want to be released from the chains of human reasoning?
Then, if you have a wiling heart of faith. God will release you from the prison of unbelief you have surrendered yourself to. The chains of unbelief will fall off and God will lead you to a new place of actually believing God is active and powerful and able to do whatever He wants. This will change how you look at prayer, witnessing, church, and many other things in your life. Time to believe in “all” miracles that God can perform and believe in “earnest” about the ability of God to do them. Miracles still happen. We just miss them because of our unbelief and our worldliness. Time to give up worldliness for Godliness!! No more chains on your life anymore. Only faith in the One who saves, Jesus Christ.
Keep in mind this C.S. Lewis quote God seems to do nothing of Himself which He can possibly delegate to His creatures. He commands us to do slowly and blunderingly what He could do perfectly and in the twinkling of an eye.
The Pilgrimage continues….