|Acts 12:13-14, The Message|
(or you can skip to Parts 4 & 5 for the actual Rhoda meditation)
Part 1A couple of months ago, our van died & we needed another vehicle.
The old one had a cassette player and a one-disc CD player.
(And here you should know that i tend to play the same disc for months on end...)
The new car has a 6-disc CD changer.
Max & i each get music we like, but i'm sure that, he, as i, have some we'd prefer to be done with.
Part 2One disc that Max would be glad to be done with, but i'm not getting enough of now is The Newsboys' Going Public.
Track 5 is Let it Rain, in which the Apostle Peter meditates on giving up his life for Christ.
While it wasn't a recent release when i got it, still i didn't need to hear it many times before realizing who was was narrating the song. Only this past week, however, did it hit me that the song isn't pondering Peter's possible thoughts before his actual martyrdom.
Part 3The Bible doesn't describe his actual death. A strong tradition, however (not the same as Scripture), tells us that he was crucified upside down.
Crucifixion is a long and extremely painful way to die.
Back to the song. The lyrics sound to me like Peter is anticipating a quick death, such as beheading.
Apparently the Greek doesn't specify beheading. The different translations, however, agree on "with the sword," which could be expected to be much quicker than crucifixion.
So, that's the origin of this meditation.
Peter is in jail, expecting to die in the morning, then God changes the plan. He sends His angel to release Peter.
You can read the account in Acts for yourself here.
Part 4: Rhoda
Peter, expecting to be executed in the morning, is sleeping. Man, could that guy sleep!
The angel releases him from the prison, and sets him loose in Jerusalem. When Peter realizes he isn't dreaming, he hotfoots it to The Meeting Place, aka the home of a lady named Mary and her son John Mark.
And once there, he can't get in. The silly servant who answered the door was too excited to actually OPEN it.
Or at least, not until she'd told the others. Peter's here! PETER! He's actually at the door!
This was too good to keep to herself!
She had to tell the others, the ones who were praying for Peter's release.
Part 5: Am i a Rhoda? Am i like the praying disciples?We are Jesus' servants, but He delights to call us His friends.
We are excited by His presence in our lives, and eager to share.
His invisible presence can be difficult to convey, but do we leave Him outside the door, giving our friends cause to wonder if we're crazy? (well, in a sense. . . . . but maybe not the kind of crazy that draws people in, not thinks we're irrelevantly weird. . . . .)
Or maybe i'm one of those disciples in the house, praying earnestly for something that seems so impossible that i can't recognize it when it comes?
Part 6: And after. . . .
James came home, but Peter lives to continue the work. Church leadership changes. (12:17, 25). God deals with the current opposition. (12:20-23). Paul's first missionary journey ends.
It wasn't like Peter thought it would be, but God sent the rain of His Spirit, falling afresh on His servants and showering them with mercy.
The story continues on to us. Who are we? How do we respond and share? Do i get in the way of others seeing Jesus in me?
Links for you:
Summary of Acts 12 with Notes
The Death of James & the Deliverance of Peter
Commentary on Acts 12