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4

Lesson

The Great Escape

Acts 12:1–19; The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 143–154

 

The Message

God hears and answers our prayers according to what is best for us.

Memory Verse

“Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him” (Acts 12:5, NIV).

Have you ever tried to open a door and found it was locked? Peter was in prison behind locked doors. Would he ever leave that cold, dark place?



 

At first Peter could not sleep. He lay on the cold, hard ground in the dark. His hands were chained to two guards. He hurt all over. His only comfort was knowing that the other believers were praying for him.

Fourteen other soldiers stood outside the cell guarding him. To escape was humanly impossible. All the excitement of being arrested made him very tired. Soon he fell into a deep sleep.

Peter felt something—or someone—touch him. He woke up to a bright light. An angel reached out to him.

“Quickly, get up,” the angel said. Peter thought he was dreaming, until the chains fell off his wrists.

“Put on your clothes and sandals,” said the angel. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.”

Peter obeyed. He felt as if he were still dreaming. Quietly, the angel led Peter past all 14 guards. When they reached the prison gate, it opened by itself.

As they walked down the street, the angel disappeared. Peter knew then that this was not a dream; he was awake. “I know the Lord sent His angel to rescue me from Herod!” he said to himself.

Peter walked to John Mark’s mother’s house. He knew the believers had gathered there to pray. Peter knocked softly on the outer door. Rhoda, a servant girl, answered.

“Who is it?” she asked through the closed door.

“Rhoda, Rhoda,” Peter whispered. “It’s Peter.” “Peter!” she shouted joyfully. “He’s at the door!” Then without opening the door she ran back to tell the others. Peter stood there, surprised that she hadn’t let him in. He put his ear on the door. He could hear a voice inside saying, “Rhoda, you’re out of your mind.”

“No, it’s true,” Rhoda cried. Peter knocked again.

“Peter’s in jail,” said another voice.

“But I heard him,” said Rhoda. Peter knocked again.

“He’s got four squads of soldiers guarding him,” said someone else.

“I know his voice,” insisted Rhoda. Peter knocked harder.

“It is Peter!” Rhoda said in a tearful voice. Peter didn’t want to wake up the whole neighborhood, but he knocked loudly once more.

Everyone rushed toward the door. They yanked it open, and almost shouted when they saw Peter. He motioned for them to be quiet.

Their voices dropped to a whisper as they pulled him inside the house.

Everyone began talking at once, saying, “Praise God, Peter, you’re safe”; “We’ve been praying for you all night.”

Then Peter told them how the Lord’s angel had helped him escape. When he finished, he said, “I’ve got to go somewhere that is safer. Tell James and the others what happened. Thank you for your prayers. I know that’s why the angel came to set me free.”