Acts Chapter 12 gives us a reason for persecutions and throws light on two kinds of prayers that had been offered by different sects of people and the response of one sect when their prayer had been answered. When King Herod had killed James the brother of John, he understood that it had pleased the Jews. This is the strategy that Satan uses even today. No one has any reason to hate Jesus but the persecutions are in order to please the majority. In Acts 12:5 we read that in order to please the Jews, Peter was put in prison but this brought displeasure to the church, the body of Christ. The church was praying for the protection of the life of Peter and his release. Church ought to pray for the protection of the servants of God and for their boldness to preach the Gospel without distorting its truth to please people.
But as God’s children we need not please anyone else except Jesus. Peter was chained between two soldiers and was sleeping. This is the bliss that we can enjoy when we fulfil God’s will. No regrets! If you please God no one can disturb your sleep. The Angel had to wake him up and lead him out of the prison. It is written in Acts 12:7 that as soon as the angel woke him up the chains fell off. Many a times we are under bondage, as we do not wake up in the light of the Truth. If we wake up, bondage will go away automatically. We try the other way round. We wait for the bondage to be removed to accept the Truth but John 8:32 says that if we shall know the truth we will be delivered.
As Peter walked with the angel, he thought that he was dreaming. Psalm 121:1 explains this situation, when we face a problem we take it up as a real thing and expertise its effects with great struggle but when God lifts us up from the problem, it is hard for us to believe. God is real and His works in our lives are also real. Let us exercise our spirituality to feel his presence and understand his dealings in our life.
When they arrived at the Iron Gate, the gate opened for them on its own accord. When God walks with us, every hindrance will go away on its own accord. Cast away the anxieties. Peter knew that the Iron Gate was locked but he never questioned the angel whether he had the key. Our faith fails at this crucial stage when we ask God to give us the key. There is always an eleventh hour challenge when God answers the prayer. Situation will build up in such a way that we are fooled by thinking that we are not acting according to the will of GOD and so the gate is closed. Everything gets shattered. There will be people around you to mock at you and give reasons for the failure and so on. Hold on to your faith even at the eleventh hour, God will make a way. Sometimes God even makes our senses numb till He finishes His work in our life.
Peter arrived at the house where a group of people were praying for his release. These people were frightened to open the door as they thought that it was not Peter but his angel. Though they were praying, their faith level was so low that they were unable to accept the answer to their prayer but were stuck to the practical situation as they had just experienced the execution of James. This group cannot be termed as church, a body of Christ, but a group of insecure like-minded people. Assuming Peter as an angel evidently shows that their prayer was not expecting an answer from God, but was just a gathering to drive away their fear arousing out of the situation. They had faith on King Herod that he would have done his will but did not have faith in God. When our mind is occupied with the things happening around us, we cannot choose what to ask God in our prayers. When our mind is occupied with the worldly things, we cannot receive God’s answer. This had happened even with Daniel and it took three weeks for him to receive the answer (Daniel 10: 12-13).
‘You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.’ James 4:3.
Assuming things on our own accord is the basic threat that every believer faces in their day to day life. Do not assume things in line with current affairs but expect a miracle!
Peter explained all that happened to him but they did not understand what Peter said even after they saw Peter alive in their midst. Sensing their reluctance, Peter asked them to share it with James and other brethren. Their concentration was so poor that they failed to inform Peter about James’ execution. His testimony had gone in vain. Hence, share your testimony according to the leading of the Holy Spirit where the testimony will really build up their faith.
“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you” Matthew 7:6.
Peter left that place.
Receive the answer promptly,