Peter Rescued by an Angel
Open Your Bible
Acts 12:1-25, Isaiah 42:8, Mark 10:35-40
BY Abby Flynn
Herod’s death is one of those Bible stories that the little boys in Sunday school love to talk about. A greedy, self-consumed king who attacked the followers of Jesus gets eaten by worms. Worms, of all things. Can you imagine? But if we just chalk this story up to being gross and weird, we’re missing the point.
In Acts, we see the followers of Jesus enduring persecution and hatred from the world, just like Jesus said. In chapter 12, Herod imprisoned Peter, intending to kill him, simply because he saw it pleased the Jewish people (Acts 12:3). Yet despite Herod’s evil intentions, God’s plans prevailed.
“But the word of God spread and multiplied.” —Acts 12:24
Herod’s earthly power and influence were nothing compared to the powerful prayers of God’s people (v.5). We see this when, despite being kept under heavy watch, Peter is suddenly rescued by an angel. Even Peter himself could hardly believe what God had done (v.9).
Rhoda, a servant, is so amazed to hear Peter’s voice she can barely even think of doing the next thing! So she runs into the house, where everyone else tells her she’s out of her mind. But she knew what she heard. Meanwhile, everyone else still had to see to believe (v.16).
In this story we see different responses to the work of God: Rhoda, a lowly servant who gave witness to a miracle. Herod, royalty, who was consumed with his reputation and power, and struck dead for not giving the glory to God. He wanted all the glory for himself and was willing to do whatever it took to get it.
Maybe the Lord wants to remind us through this passage that glory and honor look different in the kingdom. Here on earth, those who work hard and know the right people often get an honored place and position. In the kingdom of God, position and power do not equal glory. I don’t know about you, but that’s a reminder I need again, and again, and again.
Lord, make us willing vessels today, not for our good, but for your glory. Help us to focus more on what you’re doing than receiving places of honor. Remind us that you have not called us to be impressive, you’ve called us to be available as witnesses to your work. May your Word and your truth flourish and multiply through us. Amen.