Chapter Twelve — Part Three: The Book of ActsBy: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne
Publish date: 01/02/2022Foundation Scriptures:
1. Prayers Answered.
a. An angel supernaturally delivered Peter from prison.
b. When he realized he was free, he headed straight for Mary’s house (John Mark’s mother), where the Christians were praying for his deliverance.
c. Acts 12:13-14 NKJV — And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate.
d. He knocked on the door of the gate, which was locked.
e. It was locked, no doubt, because the Christians were all under threat of being arbitrarily arrested by the authorities.
f. A young lady named Rhoda (whose name means Rose), heard the knocking, and came to answer.
g. She recognized Peter’s voice but, in her joy and excitement, ran to tell the others without opening the gate.
h. Acts 12:15a NKJV — But they said to her, “You are beside yourself!”
i. They did not believe her but told her she was mad (Greek mainomai)—not in her right mind; beside herself.
j. The Jews called Jesus “mad” (John 10:20).
k. Festus called Paul “mad” when he preached the Gospel to him (Acts 26:24-25).
l. To an unbeliever, those who speak in tongues might be thought to be “mad” (1 Cor. 14:23).
m. How is it that the Church—who were praying constantly for Peter’s release—did not believe it when their prayers were answered?
n. Acts 12:15b NKJV — Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, “It is his angel.”
o. Rhoda insisted that it was Peter at the door, and they gave her a nonsensical answer: It must be his angel.
p. What does that even mean!
q. It makes more sense that Peter would be at the door than his angel!
2. Do Not Be A Doubting Thomas.
a. Acts 12:16 NKJV — Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.
b. When they finally answered the door and they saw that it was really him, they—like Rhoda—were also astonished.
c. Astonished: (Greek existēmi)—amazed, astounded, and beside themselves.
d. Acts 12:17a NKJV — But motioning to them with his hand to keep silent, he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison.
e. When they saw him and realized that it was him, they started to get a little loud, so he motioned to them with his hand to quiet them down and told them how God had delivered him.
f. Acts 12:17b NKJV — And he said, “Go, tell these things to James and to the brethren.”
g. Then he commissioned them to inform James (the brother of Jesus) and the other brethren (those who were recognized as leaders in the Church).
h. Acts 12:17c NKJV — And he departed and went to another place.
i. After that, he used his discretion and left to go to an unknown destination.
j. All the believers there would have been in danger if he remained at the house.
k. God gives us supernatural wisdom and natural wisdom—and we need to exercise them both.
3. God Deals with Your Enemies.
a. When you do what is right, God will rescue you and deal with your enemies (Ps. 34:12-16).
b. Acts 12:18 NKJV — Then, as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers about what had become of Peter.
c. Only when the sun came up, did the soldiers realize that Peter was missing.
d. “No small stir” means that there must have been a very big stir (Greek tarachos)—a disturbance, a tumult.
e. The soldiers who had been guarding him were still there, but Peter was gone.
f. How could a chained and guarded prisoner escape when they were four guards present with him, and the doors were locked?
g. Acts 12:19 NKJV — But when Herod had searched for him and not found him, he examined the guards and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judea to Caesarea, and stayed there.
h. Even though they had nothing to do with it, the guards could not explain Peter’s disappearance, and were held responsible for his escape.
i. Under Roman law, if a prisoner was allowed to escape, the guards received the same punishment as the prisoner—even if it was death.
j. Even though this law did not strictly apply in Herod’s jurisdiction, in his anger he had them put to death anyway.
k. Herod (not Peter) went down from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there.
l. No doubt, to the relief of the Church in Judea.
m. God delivered Peter, and in so doing, the Church also had a reprieve.
4. The Lord Delivers His Own.
a. 1 Peter 3:12-13 AMPC — For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with God), and His ears are attentive to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who practice evil [to oppose them, to frustrate, and defeat them]. 13 Now who is there to hurt you if you are zealous followers of that which is good?
b. If you whole-heartedly do what is right, the Lord promises to deliver you and deal with your enemies.
c. Just as the Lord delivered Israel from the Egyptians, when He took them through the Red Sea, so He will also deliver His Church.
d. When you are in the center of God’s will, even though you go through a great attack from the enemy, you do not need to fear.
e. The same Red Sea that was the salvation of Israel, was also the destruction of the mighty and powerful Egyptian nation.
f. The very thing your enemies try to do to you, will be the cause of their downfall.