Acts 12 … Consider Him Who Leads Us Out of Prison

Originally posted: 1/23/2020

Now about that time Herod the king laid hands on some who belonged to the church in order to mistreat them. And he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword.When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also… (12:1-3).

Could things get any worse? Herod the king is in a frenzy, furiously persecuting and severely mistreating any believer he can get his hands on. James, the brother of John and pillar of the church, has been beheaded. And now, in order to please the Jews, Herod has his henchmen seize Peter, to be held under guarded lock and key until after Passover, when his fate would be sealed by the Jews.

I wonder if the believers were anticipating the worst? But regardless, they knew where to turn in the midst of the onslaught of the enemies’ attacks.

 So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God, (12:5).

But I also can’t help but wonder if they really believed their prayers would make a difference? Seems as though they didn’t… even Peter himself, while experiencing the miraculous, wasn’t sure if it was his mind playing tricks.

And he went out and continued to follow, and he did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision, (12:9).

And while the people prayed fervently, somehow it seems as though they resigned themselves to their sad fate… this was beyond God’s intervention. And to make sense of the ranting of the servant-girl, they rationalized that it was Peter’s ghost.

They said to her, “You are out of your mind!” But she kept insisting that it was so. They kept saying, “It is his angel,” (12:15).

And it is in the midst of this madness and mess, with assaults against the church on every side, while believers are confused and unsure, that the Lord supernaturally intervenes and silences all confusion, doubt, and fear.

But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had led him out of the prison. And he said, “Report these things to James and the brethren,” (12:17).

I was wholly reminded of my own rescue, in the midst of all my madness, mess, confusion, and insecurity. And for every one of us who has trusted in Jesus Christ for his or her salvation, we know… had it not been for Him Who Leads Us Out of Prison, we would be forever bound.

Our own redemption and rescue from sin and death in Christ Jesus is palpably portrayed through the events of Peter’s supernatural prison release.

Consider Him Who Leads Us Out of Prison

  •  He Leads Us Out of Prison at His Perfect Pace.
    • On the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward… (12:6).
      • But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, (Galatians 4:4).
  • He Leads Us Out of Prison through His Miraculous Mediator.
    • And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared… (12:7).
      • For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, (1 Timothy 2:5).
  • He Leads Us Out of Prison by His Liberating Light.
    • …appeared and a light shone in the cell; (12:7).
      • There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, (John 1:9-12).
  • He Leads Us Out of Prison with His Awesome Awakening.
    • …and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up… (12:7).
      • He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming…  32 Now Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory… (Luke 9:28-29, 32).
  • He Leads Us Out of Prison by His Commanding Call.
    • “Get up quickly,” (12:7).
      • Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me,” (Matthew 16:24).
  • He Leads Us Out of Prison by His Decisive Deliverance.
    • And his chains fell off his hands, (12:7). 
      • Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come, (2 Corinthians 5:17).
  • He Leads Us Out of Prison with His Perfect Provision.
    • And the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you… (12:8). 
      • Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, (Ephesians 6:14-17).
  • He Leads Us Out of Prison by His Great Guidance.
    • “… and follow me,” (12:8). 
      • “These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you,” (John 14:25-26). 

How do we respond to Him Who Leads Us Out of Prison?

A prison is defined as “any place of confinement or involuntary restraint.”

Prisons. They come in all shapes and sizes. But every prison is a place of confinement and restraint. And it is just into this place that He Comes to Lead Us Out.

However, when we are born again in Christ Jesus, prison is no longer an involuntary restraint. Scripture says we now have a choice.

Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? (Romans 6:16).

Let us lean on Him to Lead Us Out of Prison as we choose to obey in faith…

  • …as we trust His Perfect Pace.
    • “For the vision is yet for the appointed time;
      It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail.
      Though it tarries, wait for it;
      For it will certainly come, it will not delay,” (Habakkuk 2:3).
  • …as we rely on His Miraculous Mediator.
    • Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus… 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us, (Romans 8:1, 33-34).
  • …as we follow His Liberating Light.
    • Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life,” (John 8:12).
  • …as we respond to His Awesome Awakening.
    • Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. 14 For this reason it says,
      “Awake, sleeper,
      And arise from the dead,
      And Christ will shine on you,”
      (Ephesians 5:11-14).
  • …as we answer His Commanding Call.
    • Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him,” (John 14:23).
  • …as we depend upon His Decisive Deliverance.
    •  The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet… (Romans 16:20). 
  • …as we apprehend His Perfect Provision.
    • Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence, (2 Peter 1:2-3). 
  • …as we continue in His Great Guidance.
    • But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you,” (John 16:13-14). 

The Father has graciously given His Son and His Spirit to Lead Us Out of Prison, to live in His perfect liberty, even while we remain here on earth.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, (2 Corinthians 3:17).

He Leads Us Out of Prison as He calls us by name. That’s almost too much to fathom, He calls my name, and He calls yours!

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of the, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice,” (John 10:3).

Let us choose to follow Him Who Leads Us Out of Prison every moment of every day! 

Let’s Grow Together!

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