July 23, 2024

Asleep in a Cell

Acts 12:5-10

Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance.

—  Acts 12:6

Sometimes we awake from a dream feeling relieved that it was only a dream. Other times we awake and wish the dream were real.

After being locked up in prison, Peter awoke when an angel came to free him, “but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision.” Later he realized that a miracle had taken place and he was no longer in prison.

The book of Acts shows us what the early church suffered for preaching and teaching about Jesus. King Herod had executed James, one of Jesus’ disciples. Seeing that his actions pleased the Jews, Herod arrested Peter, the disciples’ leader, intending to try him in public (Acts 12:1-4). But God had other plans, as we see in Peter’s dramatic escape.

This surprising episode teaches us some important things. For example, we see the power of prayer. After Peter’s arrest, the church in Jerusalem prayed earnestly for him. God hears and answers the prayers of his people. We also see the passion and commitment of the early church to keep proclaiming the good news of Jesus, despite persecution. Their sharing of the love of Jesus changed the world, and our sharing of Jesus’ love can do that too.

Lord Jesus, you suffered for us. Help us to embrace the cost of following you and sharing your story with our world. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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