One of the common themes in Acts is the fact the early church experienced stiff persecution and often disciples were arrested for proclaiming the name of Christ. Chapter 12 builds upon this theme.
Here, we are told that James, the brother of John, was arrested and killed by King Herod. Later, Herod would arrest Peter during one of the most important times of the year (the Festival of Unleavened Bread). We can assume Peter was to experience the same punishment that killed James.
Except this isn’t what happens. Peter doesn’t face the same death as James in this chapter. In fact, he is rescued and freed from prison before anyone could hurt him. An angel appeared and helped Peter escape from prison. Peter would eventually show up at the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, and his presence created quite the discussion. They couldn’t believe that Peter, this leader of the church that they presumed would be killed, was now standing before them.
What can we make of this rescue and escape? What can we take from it that will inspire us this morning and throughout the week?
If nothing else, the mere fact that whenever all seems lost, whenever it seems as though there is no help around, whenever we experience dark moments, God is there. Truly, God is always with us, but we especially feel the Lord’s presence in these difficult moments. For Peter, it was through the presence of an angel who came and rescued him when he needed help the most. For us, it could be that phone call from a long-lost friend, a word of encouragement when we are feeling discouraged, or a voice of comfort in dark moments.
No matter what we face in life we can trust that God is always with us. Even when we believe that all hope is lost, that everything is doomed, God is there, active, and is preparing to show us something powerful, loving, and hopeful.
The greatest thing about our Lord is that we are never left alone. We may feel like it in these times, but God is right there. We can trust in that this morning, this week, and everyday!