This morning we continued looking at God’s miraculous interventions in the book of Acts and considered Peter’s deliverance from prison (Acts 12:1-19). Like any good story, there is dramatic tension here as we find our hero in difficulties, this time in prison because of Herod’s murderous intentions (having already killed James, one of the apostles.) It was a crucial time for the early church: Stephen had been martyred, and now James. What would happen to Peter?
The church was earnestly praying for Peter, and at just the right time, immediately before Herod was due to bring him to trial, an angel appears to deliver him from prison. Peter was sleeping peacefully (a reminder that God can give us peace in the most difficult of circumstances) and the whole miracle seems to him something like a dream. Even when he was knocking on the door of the house where the church were still praying, this dream-like state continued, with the servant, Rhoda, not even opening the door, so surprised was she!
God is able to deliver us from situations which look perilous – we only have to look at Daniel in the lions’ den, Jonah in the belly of the great fish and Joseph, freed from prison, to see that. The Exodus is God’s most amazing deliverance miracle in the Old Testament. (Ex 14) Deliverance comes when we least expect it but when we most need it. The consistent testimony of all Scripture, not simply the passage we have read today, is that our God is a God who delivers us from all evil and who will rescue us from trouble. Because of this, we can have hope, no matter what our situation, for our God delivers. ‘The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles,’ David said. (Ps 34:17) This can be our experience too.