Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared, and a light shone in the cell. Striking Peter on the side, he woke him up and said, “Quick, get up!” And the chains fell off his wrists. Acts 12:7 CSB
Acts 12 can be boiled down to the topics of pride, morality, and hope. We see these traits manifested in Herod, Peter, and Rhoda.
A more in depth study of these chapters can be found in the post “
Herod Agrippa I
Herod Agrippa was the grandson of Herod the Great (the Herod that tried to have Christ killed as a baby). He actually followed Jewish customs and traditions, strengthening his bond between the Jews he ruled over. Because of this he despised Christians.
In the beginning of this chapter we learn that he's already killed James, the brother of John, now he has his sights set on Peter. Herod's pride eventually leads to his demise. When people exalt Herod as a kind and he allows it, God strikes him dead.
James is killed by Herod, but Peter is spared. Peter still had a job to do. One of things Peter's experience reminded me of was the moment in my childhood when I realized that morality and legality were two totally different things. There are things that are legal that aren't moral, and there are things that are illegal that are perfectly moral. We often get roped into an idea that because someone is a criminal according to the state/world they're a bad person, but that's not the case. Lots of great people spent time in prison—Peter, Paul, many civil rights leaders, etc.
Rhoda is thought to be a servant, hence why she answers the door. She is so shocked that Peter is at the door that she forgets to welcome him in! Many of us react like Rhoda to the blessings God has for us. When Rhoda tells the others, they don't believe her. The Church's reaction reminded me of when Christ said we could move mountains if we had faith the size of a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20). Verse 5 tells us they had been praying constantly, so why are they shocked that God rescued Peter?
References and Footnotes
- "Herod Agrippa I". Encylopædia Britannica. January 1, 2020
- When I read through this chapter, I couldn't help picturing Herod as Trump. After failing to maintain his prisoner, Herod jets off (to a vacation?) where he allows people to stroke his ego. Doesn't this sound like something Trump would do?