Peter is Gone: Acts 12:6-11
“6) On the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison. 7) And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly.” And his chains fell off his hands. 8) And the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he *said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” 9) And he went out and continued to follow, and he did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10) When they had passed the first and second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened for them by itself; and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. 11) When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”” Acts‬ ‭12‬:‭6‬-‭11‬ ‭
God has a variety of resources at His disposal to carry out His plans. He can work through people. He can work through angelic intervention. He can work through His Holy Spirit. He can speak into a situation through His authority. He can manifest His power at any time in miraculous ways. He can manipulate the weather, animals or even the waves of the sea. He sometimes used storms, a flood, earthquakes, famines and even a whale to rescue Jonah. At the end of the story of Jonah, He used a single worm. These are but a few options available to Him. God has many servants at His disposal.
In this story, He dispatched one angel to set Peter free from the prison cell. The four squads of elite Roman soldiers were totally unconscious of the events transpiring around them. Even Peter thought he was seeing a dream. The chains fell off and the gates opened as if by themselves. Peter just walked out of the prison as if he was on a Sunday stroll. It was so smooth it was almost anti-climatical. It was definitely not the blazing guns and nail biting drama of modern escape movies.
People sometimes complain; “I never get to see God work in dramatic ways!” Neither did Peter. It just happened as if he was seeing a dream. In fact, verse 11 says; “And when Peter came to himself, he said, now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me…” He was part of it and yet he was not conscious of it.
I can just imagine the soldiers having a similar awakening. One moment Peter was there and the prison was safe and secure. They blink their eyes and he was suddenly gone… but they missed the whole thing. They had no idea how Peter escaped. He was just gone! When Herod examined them, they were led away to execution as if they were derelict of their duties. (See Acts 12:19)
When God chooses to work supernaturally, it sometimes has negative ramifications for those on the periphery of the story. Jesus created, loved and died for those Roman soldiers as well. Maybe some became believers before they died. They certainly had much to think about as they awaited their fate.
But back to my main point, none of the main players in the story saw anything unusual happen. It just happened. During His public ministry, the critics of Jesus were constantly asking for a sign. He was working daily but they couldn’t see it or connect the dots. Yet, in three short years human history was forever changed. But those in the story couldn’t see the bigger picture. They couldn’t see that God was working in dramatic ways. They missed it!
Many today are in the same hypnotic state. God is working all around us in extraordinary ways, but most are missing it. They are complaining; “I never get to see God work in extraordinary ways!” Really?
Back to the story. I can just imagine the two guards in the cell who were responsible to watch over Peter. They knock at the door and say; “Captain, I think we’ve got a problem!” After a yawn, the captain asks; “What’s the Problem?” Then with shaking voices they respond; “Peter is gone!” Suddenly the midnight prison comes to life. Then the big question; “What happened?” They respond; “We didn’t see anything unusual, but Peter is gone!
Let me sound a wake up call for the church today; “Peter is Gone!” In the past seven years our world has drastically changed right before our eyes. Nothing is the same anymore. You may not have noticed it while it was happening, but “Peter is Gone!” Extraordinary things have been happening in a compressed way right before our eyes. It is very much like the seven previous years to this story in the book of Acts. That would roughly encompass the start of the public ministry of Jesus to the launch of the church in Antioch for the Gentile believers.
When God does hundreds of things in a compressed time frame, it is an indication of something very big. We are living in extraordinary times. Don’t miss what God is doing. Something very big on epoch proportions is unfolding right before our eyes.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global