I like the Apostle Peter. He’s smart as a whip and a simple fisherman. He’s seems fearless but scares easily. He swore to God that he would never turn his back on Jesus, and, that same night, denied Him three times. I like him because he is flawed. He’s human. I can relate.
About 15 years after the resurrection of Christ, Peter is thrown in prison in Jerusalem. Herod is afraid Peter will miraculously escape, and so assigns four squads of soldiers to guard him.
Peter could care less. Whatever happens will happen, so he turns in for the night. Herod was right. Sometime in the middle of the night, an angel is sent by God to deliver Peter, who nearly slept through it. As Luke tells it, the angel had to strike Peter in the side to wake him.
I imagine the angel turning on the lights, whispering his name, nudging his shoulder, and shaking him, before finally, smacking him in the side.
For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
– Psalm 91:11
When Peter sat up, his chains fell from his hands.
“Get dressed, and follow me,” says the angel.
“Sure. Whatever,” says Peter with a laugh, believing it to be a dream. It wasn’t until Peter was completely out of the prison, past the guards, and down the street that the angel disappeared and Peter finally came to his senses.
For a split second, he didn’t know what to do. “Wow,” he said. “Christ really did send an angel to free me.” Immediately he ran to the house of John Mark and his mother. This is, more or less, his center of operations. When he arrived, he found a prayer meeting in session. EVERYONE was praying that Peter would be saved from the prison… Everyone but Peter, that is. Peter had not been praying. He had been asleep.
You see, many times, we don’t realize just how deep of a predicament we have fallen. Sometimes, the danger is more real than we can imagine. Often, we don’t pray for ourselves because we don’t quite get it. Thank God for a praying family, and a praying church family.
God knows what we need even before we ask it. It was no accident that the angel was there when Peter needed help. God knew that Peter would sleep through this, for, afterall, he had slept through Christ’s prayer and suffering on the Mount of Olives. Yet, he sent divine help to Peter.
How many times has God sent us divine help when we didn’t even ask. How many times have we had ANGELS watching over us, and we didn’t know it. How often do others lift us up in prayer, when we are totally unaware?
Hmmmm… I wonder…