Evidently Herod considered Peter to be a very real threat to his kingdom. He had him thrown in prison and posted 16 soldiers to make sure that he didn’t escape. Peter was bound with 2 chains, he had guards on both sides of him, and sentries on lookout at the prison entrance to make sure that no one busted him out.
And no one did. He just walked out – following an angel.
I believe in angels. Not the kind of angels that are generally depicted on TV – the kind that look like people and are just nicer versions of humanity. I have never seen an angel – at least not that I am aware of. But lots of others have. There are actually quite a few angel sightings in the Scriptures. Here are a few examples…
Daniel … while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. (Daniel 9:21, NIV)
John 9 Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”10 At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.” (Revelation 19:9-10)
Philip 26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (Acts 8:26)
Ezekiel 18 Then the glory of the Lord departed from over the threshold of the temple and stopped above the cherubim. 19 While I watched, the cherubim spread their wings and rose from the ground, and as they went, the wheels went with them. They stopped at the entrance of the east gate of the Lord’s house, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them. 20 These were the living creatures I had seen beneath the God of Israel by the Kebar River, and I realized that they were cherubim. (Ezekiel 10:18-20)
But I digress. The thing that I have always like about this story in Acts 12 is what is said about prayer.
- It would seem that the angel rescued Peter because the people of God had been praying diligently and desperately. (12:5) – It is not often that I see this kind of prayer reflected in my own life or in the life of the church. Perhaps if we as a community of believers learned to pray diligently and desperately then we would also see God working through his angel army.
- It would seem that those who were praying were as surprised as anyone that God actually answered their prayers. (12:12-15). I kind of see a picture of a group of people praying diligently and desperately – but not really expecting that anything will come of their prayers. Even when they were told that Peter was at their house they found it hard to believe – choosing to believe instead that it “must be his angel” (12:15) – whatever that means.
To conclude – I would really like to have an angel experience. At least I think that I would. But I’m pretty sure that I will not until I learn to pray diligently and desperately. So first things first and then perhaps we shall see.