I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me
Makes the lame to walk and the blind to see
Opens prison doors sets the captives free
Peter was asleep when the angel came to free him from prison. Since he was obviously famous for miraculous jailbreaks (with supernatural assistance, of course), King Herod Agrippa assigned extra guards to him, making this escape all the more spectacular. Peter had been chained between two guards and if he somehow managed to get free of them, there were two guard posts to pass before reaching the large iron gate, too heavy for one to open, that led to the street. But the angel “struck him on the side to awaken him,” dropped the chains from off him, walked him past the two guard posts and when they got to the big iron gate, it opened automatically like the front door of Target.
Right up until the angel left him alone on the street, Peter thought he had been dreaming this. “It’s really true!” he said. “The Lord has sent his angel and saved me from Herod and from what the Jewish leaders had planned to do to me!” (Acts 12:11)
Things were not going quite so well for the guards, however, who, after being interrogated about the incident, were sentenced to death for having Peter slip out of their grasp on their watch. You have to feel for them, knowing there was nothing they could do to avoid this happening; they were no match for angelic intervention.
There is a consolation, however. You can bet, after being chained to Peter for the night, that they heard the gospel. No doubt about it. The guards were bound to have asked Peter what he had done to deserve being thrown in jail, and guarded so heavily. “I’ve been telling people that the Jesus they crucified was the Messiah, the savior of the world who rose from the dead, and that by believing in Him you could have your sins forgiven and be saved for eternity.” And realizing that Peter must have had supernatural assistance to escape their grasp, maybe there was something to his story, and with their own death so thrust upon them, wouldn’t they have prayed to Jesus, and wouldn’t He have had mercy on them? Though this is not in the story, I’m pretty confident we could write it in. It’s impossible to imagine Peter being silent with two guards chained to him. Instead, he would have been overjoyed over such a captive audience. After all, who’s in prison here? It certainly wasn’t Peter.
Which goes to show you that there is no end to the adventure and the opportunities for rewriting your story when Jesus is in control of your life. There are no mistakes — no set-backs — no situation that God can’t redeem from another perspective. These may be the acts of the Apostles, but they are orchestrated by the Holy Spirit so that everything that happens furthers the kingdom of God on earth. This is why we are here. God is still doing this with our lives today. What may look like prison is something else entirely. Remember, this is Acts 2017, and you are walking in the kingdom of God on earth!