Acts 12 Devotional
Here are the key points as I see them in regard to Peter's miraculous escape from a jail cell. These points all relate to God's willingness to perform miracles. Believe it or not, we have a role to play in these miracles.
Key number one is our responsibility is to pray. Prayers prompted God's miraculous response. Peter was released from prison as a result of praying people. Verse 5 says ..."but the church was earnestly praying to God for him." It is important to note that the prayers were directed to God, not to some other entity or being. They were praying to the God Peter believed in and preached about. Verse 12 notes ..."where many people had gathered and were praying." In both of these verses, there is a significant number of people praying corporately. "The church" and "many people" moved God to act.
For key number two we note how God used an angel to enact this miracle. "Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell" (verse 7). After the prison escape, when it dawned on him that this being was an angel, Peter immediately gave credit to God for this miracle. In verse 11 it says "Then Peter came to himself and said, Now I know without a doubt the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod's clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating." Later in verse 17 it describes how Peter told the church about the Lord's miracle. Peter's recognition here is significant. God has the right and authority to use angels when He pleases. It is important for us to do as Peter did and acknowledge Him, thanking God for the miracle and not the angel.
The third key from this miraculous chapter is found in verse 6. "The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance." The significant part of this verse is the section, "the night before." God allowed Peter to be imprisoned for a while. He waited until the day before the trial was to start to rescue him. This was a trial in which Peter would most certainly have been found guilty and murdered by Herod. Surely the church would have preferred Peter be rescued right away. Peter, too, was probably eager to get out of that dirty cell and away from death's door. But we must remember that God's timing is not always our timing. He will enact His miracles according to His own time schedule. And His timing always bears fruit. As it says in verse 24, "But the word of God continued to increase and spread." He used Peter's imprisonment and miraculous rescue to point people to Himself and the Word. And as a result many accepted the Gospel.