Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. Acts 12:5 (Acts 12:1-19)
Not long after tha disciples of tha Son began ter be called “Christians” some prophets come down from Jerusalem ter Antioch. A feller by tha name of Agabus stood up and speaking through tha Holy Ghost of Truth predicted that a severe famine would spread over tha entire Roman world, which be near ’bout from tha Euphrates River ter Spain. This famine happened during tha reign of Claudius, tha fourth Roman emperor who ruled from 41 years after tha birth of tha Son ’till 54 years after tha birth of tha Son. Most likely all this happened ’bout ten years after tha Son whar raised from tha grave.
‘Round tha time of this prediction or near that start of it, King Herod Agrippa, also known as Herod Number Two, arrested some of those who belonged ter tha Son, intending ter persecute them. He had James, tha brother of John, put ter death with tha sword, which be a genteel way of saying “beheaded.” When that snake seen that this pleased folks, fer folks back then and ter day love ter see blood spilt, folks beaten and battered, he proceed ter seize Old Pete as well.
Tha arrest of Old Pete happened during tha feast of Unleavened bread. Tha feast of Unleavened Bread celebrates tha journey of Skip’s people through tha wilderness after thar escape from Egypt. While wandering ’bout they ate unleavened bread fer thirty days. When that run out, Skipper gave ’em manna from heaven ever day fer tha rest of thar journey ter the promised land of Israel. Tha fact that tha bread whar unleavened, without yeast, symbolized that they be not taking with them any of tha vile, wicked, contaminating influence of Egypt, which be a representation of tha culture of the world. No, only Skip’s pure bread of life, his words, be enough ter sustain ’em.
Think on this a wee little bit: Agabus tha prophet warned that tha area whar about to be in dire need of food. Number Two lopped off James’ head ’cause it satisfied tha appetite of folks who loved wickedness. Then, during a time when Skip’s people celebrated purity from tha wicked influences of cultures and peoples ’round them by feeding on Skip’s pure bread, Number Two’s arrested Old Pete. All this points ter tha fact that this tale be one about food, life, living holy, and Skip’s blessed provision during times of plenty and times of scarcity.
After arresting Old Pete, Number Two put him in prison. He ordered that Old Pete be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each, a crew of sixteen as it whar. After Passover, Old Pete whar slated ter be trotted out fer a public trial and no doubt served up in a way that satisfied tha appetite of wicked folks.
Meanwhile “tha church” whar earnestly praying ter Skipper fer Old Pete.
Tha night ‘fer that snake Herod whar ter bring Old Pete out ter face tha mob, Sleepy Pete lay in prison, bound with two chains and snoozing between two soldiers. At tha entrance stood sentries. Now ya might think tha night be ‘fer ya whar ter be tried and mostly likely found guilty and executed, a feller would ‘ave a tough time sleeping, but not Old Pete. He rested in tha Son, knowing he had been faithful ter his calling. He slept assured in his heart that no matter if he lived or died he be with our Lord always—that life on earth be one state and life in heaven with our Lord be even better.
Suddenly an angel of tha Lord appeared. A light shone in tha cell. Tha angel thumped Old Pete on his side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” said tha angel. Tha chains dropped off Old Pete’s wrists.
Now Old Pete whar not in his right mind at that moment, fer he had no idear that what tha angel whar doing was really happening. He thought he whar seeing a vision.
Tha angel said ter him, “Put on yer clothes and sandals. Wrap yer cloak ’round ya and follow me.”
Still thinking he whar seeing a vision or possibly dreaming, Old Pete followed tha angel out of tha prison. When they came ter tha iron gate leading in ter tha city, it opened fer them by itself and they went through. Once tha pair had walked near ’bout tha length of one street, suddenly tha angel left him and Old Pete came ter his senses.
Old Pete said ter himself, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches, and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”
When this idear come ter him, he walked ter tha house of Mary, tha mother of John Mark. This most likely be tha very place whar tha Son and his discipled celebrated tha passover meal tha night be fer tha Son be executed. Inside whar a whole passel of folks praying fer Old Pete’s well being.
He knocked at tha outer entrance gate, and a servant girl named Rhoda answered tha door. When she recognized Old Pete’s voice whispering ter her, she whar so excited that she ran back inside without letting him in.
“Peter is at the door!” she said.
“You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.”
But Old Pete kept knocking, and when they opened tha door and seen that it whar really him, jaws dropped. With his hand Old Pete motioned fer ’em ter pipe down and then described how tha Lord had brought him out of prison. He told ’em ter tell James, the brother of tha Son, and tha disciples ’bout what had happened. Then he skedaddled fer another place.
Think on this a wee little bit:
- Tha Son be executed tha day be fer tha feast of Unleavened Bread whar ter start. Old Pete whar probably slated ter be executed tha day after tha feast of Unleavened Bread ended.
- Tha Son asked his disciples ter pray fer him be fer he whar ter suffer and die. In John Mark’s mum’s home folks be praying fer Old Pete.
- Tha Son whar killed by Roman soldiers and placed in a tomb. Old Pete whar arrested by Roman soldiers and placed in a prison cell.
- Tha Son whar bound by death in burial cloth. Old Pete be bound by chains.
- In both cases execution fer simply testifying ter tha saving love of Skipper whar thar only offense.
- An angel appeared ter Mary Magdalene when she went ter visit tha tomb of Jesus. An angel appeared ter Old Pete when Skipper sent help ter rescue him.
- When Skipper wished ter raise his only Son from death’s prison, grave clothes could not keep him bound. Prison chains could not hold Old Pete.
- Tha burial napkin placed over the face of tha Son whar not tossed aside, but neatly folded, and was placed at the head of that stony coffin. Old Pete took tha time ter put on his clothes, sandals, and outer garment. Both tha Son and Old Pete left not in haste, but with tha assurance that Skipper had rescued ’em.
- An angel moved aside tha rock that sealed tha tomb and then sat on it. An angel stood be fer tha gate leading ter tha city and it opened on its own.
- When women reached tha tomb of tha Son and seen it whar empty, they rushed ter tell tha disciples. Tha fellers did not believe tha women. Ter them thar words seemed like nonsense. When Rhoda, tha slave girl, recognized that Old Pete be knocking at that door and she told tha fellers and lasses inside, they thought her out of her mind.
- When tha Son met with Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, he said, “Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” Old Pete said ter them in John Mark’s mum’s home, “Tell the brothers about this.”
- After he left tha tomb, tha Son told Mary Magdalene not ter hold on ter him: that he had to be on his way. After Old Pete met with them in tha house praying fer ’em, he left fer another place.
- Finally, after it whar discovered that tha Son had escaped, tha Roman guards charged with guarding tha tomb where bribed in order ter say grave robbers stole his body. After it whar discovered that Old Pete had escaped, tha Roman guards charged with guarding his prison cell were killed.
This be a lot ter consider, but what doth it mean fer us? How kin we take comfort from tha fact that Skipper rescued tha Son from that grave and Old Pete from prison. After all, James tha brother of John whar beheaded. Same with John tha Baptizer. Why doth Skip save some and not others?
Fer now we ‘ill focus on this one aspect of this tale: tha church whar earnestly praying ter Skipper for Old Pete. Night be fer he whar executed tha Son had asked his disciples ter earnestly pray fer him, but they dropped off ter sleep. Now, tha Son whar destined ter die fer our sins, so it not likely be that thar prayers would ‘ave changed that, but what if tha Son suffered a wee bit more on account of tha disciples’ lazy praying? No matter, one main point ter take away from this tale be this: pray fer them ya love who be in prison.
Skipper be in tha business of hearing our prayers and answering our prayers. If ya know of someone bound by an affliction, addiction, evil spirits, physical limitations, incarcerated, infirmed, in torment, gather about ya some righteous folks and beg Skipper ter liberate ’em. Might be he sends an angel. Might be he sends a word from a friend. Might be he whispers ter thar heart, “Hey, _______, it’s me Skipper. Get up. Dress yourself. Leave this life.”
Then, when ya find ’em knocking at yer door, doth not be amazed that Skipper answered, but be amazed that ya ever doubted he would.