I always laugh when I envisage Rhoda running to the door and upon seeing Peter is so overjoyed that she runs back inside to announce Peter’s arrival without letting him in. The whole while Peter is still knocking at the door.
Joy and utter disbelieve on one side of the door and an anxious Peter on the other side. Peter’s motioning for the disciples to be silent reminds me that sometimes we take extraordinary liberties in the name of being under the watch of God. Think about this Peter had just been escorted by an angel through several prison doors, why wouldn’t he just rejoice and sing loud praises with the rest of the disciples? Why did he have to go into hiding? If God had sent angels to lead him out of prison how difficult would protecting him out of prison be? If I had written this story, Peter would have gone the following morning with a good following of disciples to Herod just to prove the greatness of God to Herod. The passage just reminds me that wisdom is so primary in our faith-we ought to be wise about the liberties we take in the name of the strength and protection that God provides.
Another aspect of Peter’s escape I find interesting is that the angel had to strike Peter’s side. I doubt if Peter was having the most comfortable sleep session of his lifetime, was it necessary to strike him? I think tapping him could just as well have done the job. The sentence sequence in the NIV 12:7 says that ” He struck him on one side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists”. Sometimes we might find ourselves in prisons where whispering our names, or gentle tapping might not be enough to get the shackles off. I pray that we are able to identify it when God strikes us awake in our imprisonment so we can follow His lead out.