Thursday, April 19, 2012

Acts 12:12-17


Summary retelling of Acts 12:12-17

When Peter realized that what was happening was actually real – and after having given praise to God – Peter journeys to Mary’s house.  {Incidentally, Mary is the mother of John Mark, whom most people believe is the author of the Gospel of Mark.}  There were many people gathered and praying in the middle of the night!  Peter knocks on the door and Rhoda comes and hears Peter’s voice.  She was so overjoyed that she ran to tell the others without letting Peter in.  They didn’t believe.  At first they thought it was a prank.  Then they assumed it was his ghost.  Peter continued to knock and they let him in.  Peter tells them all what happened and instructs that James be told. {James the brother of Jesus, not James the brother of John – who we heard was dead at the beginning of this chapter.}  After telling his story, Peter heads out of Jerusalem and goes elsewhere to do some ministry.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
Now that we’ve come to the end of Peter’s rescues, it is fair to wrestle with a lingering issue.  Why did God want to free Peter but God let James die by Herod’s hand?  Did God love Peter more?  Did the people pray for Peter more earnestly?

It is hard to answer these questions, but in the end the best answer is that all things work out to the glory of God.  God wanted Peter to do more work, James’ work was done.  That doesn’t mean that God loved James any less.  It just means that God is in control and we need to learn to humble ourselves to whatever calling He has for us – whether it be a long calling or a short calling in life.

How does it make you feel knowing that God did provide a means for Peter to escape and that He let James die?  Are you comfortable accepting God’s sovereignty or do you still wrestle with the fairness of it all?

Second Thought:
There are a bunch of people gathered in prayer for Peter at Mary’s house.  Remember, this was in the middle of the night, because Peter was sound asleep and the angel had to wake him.  Here are some dedicated Christians who actually believe in spirituality!

At the same time, it is interesting that when the very thing that they are praying for happens – they struggle to believe it.  Sometimes we can be faithful in our actions but not really believing in the spiritual power behind what our actions represent.

Are you dedicated to being a disciple of Jesus Christ regardless of the cost?  Do you believe that God can do anything that you ask of Him should He desire it?

Third Thought:
Peter tells his story and goes on his way.  Clearly Jerusalem is not safe for him in the short term.  He teaches, and then moves on.  This is the model he learned from Christ, after all.

Do you think you would have wanted to leave Jerusalem if it had been your home for at least the last decade or more?  How difficult of a decision do you think this was for Peter?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 12:18-19
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