ACTS 12 About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. 2 He killed fJames the brother of John gwith the sword, 3 and when he saw hthat it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during ithe days of Unleavened Bread. 4 And when he had seized him, he put him jin prison, delivering him over to four ksquads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. 5 So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest lprayer for him was made to God by the church 6 Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, mbound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. 7 And behold, nan angel of the Lord ostood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. pHe struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And qthe chains fell off his hands. 8 And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and rput 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 followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but sthought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. tIt opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him.11 When Peter ucame to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that vthe Lord has sent his angel and wrescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of xJohn whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and ywere praying. 13 And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, za servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 Recognizing Peter's voice, ain her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. 15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is bhis angel!” 16 But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. 17 But cmotioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to dJames and to ethe brothers.”1 Then he departed and went to another place.18 Now when day came, there was no little disturbance among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. 19 And after Herod searched for him and did not find him, he examined the sentries and fordered that they should be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent time there.20 Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they came to him with one accord, and ghaving persuaded Blastus, the king's chamberlain,2 they asked for peace, because htheir country depended on the king's country for food. 21 On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. 22 And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” 23 Immediately ian angel of the Lord struck him down, because jhe did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.24 But kthe word of God increased and multiplied.25 lAnd Barnabas and Saul returned from3 Jerusalem when they had completed their service, bringing with them mJohn, whose other name was Mark.How can you not love this story! It is the subject to a very fun old song by Amy Grant: Angels Watching Over Me
But I look closely at this inspired account and notice conditions in which miracles appear.
I- Dire Opposition and Spiritual Warfare:
Herod wasn't playing, James was dead and Peter was next. Are you living in such a way that Satan's wrath has manifested itself or are we so impotent that he doesn't need to bother?
I have always loved the stark choice portrayed in the Book of Revelation:
Follow the Lamb and Get the Wrath of the Dragon or
Follow the Dragon and Get the Wrath of the Lamb
Whose wrath do you choose?
II- Just in the Nick of Time, Against Impossible Odds:
Peter was going to be cut down the next day. Four squads of soldiers. Chained between two watchmen. It was at the last minute that God showed up where doubt was real and faith was most needed. I don't LIKE that God often does it this way, but He does. GOD IS NEVER LATE, BUT HE IS SELDOM EARLY.
III- Drowned in Corporate Prayer:
This is the most convicting aspect to this passage. Do we gather to intercede? The army of the Lord marches on their knees! Forgive me, LORD!
IV- Logical Reactions and Wise Responses:
It is interesting that God requires response. Lazarus take off your grave clothes. Peter, dress yourself. And he is smart to go and hide himself. Salvation is monergistic (God alone) but sanctification is synergistic (God and Man). Where have we refused to do our part to God's provisions?
V- Glory to God and Validation by God:
God allowed for miracles to authenticate the Words of the Patriarchs and Prophets as His revelation. Christ's miracles authenticated His Sonship. The Apostles miracles authenticated the apostolic ministry of the New Covenant and New Testament writings.
God's receiving of Glory is built into the subatomic and DNA design of the cosmos. When Herod becomes a 'glory stealer'- his doom is certain.
VI- Growth of the Church- The persecution of the church and rescue in miraculous ways allows for fertilized gospel expansion and explosion.
THE MIRACLE OF MIRACLES:
Have you seen such a miracle? If you are born again you have!
Dire Opposition- Satan hates you
Spiritual Warfare- He wanted you blind and dead to God's grace
Just in the Nick of Time and Against Impossible Odds- You heard the message of life and hope
You were prayed into the Kingdom and one day you may find out who those people were
And you responded and began to walk in those new steps and thoughts
And the church grew.....
YOU ARE A MIRACLE!