Interesting Bible People: Rhoda
Rhoda Has Only One Appearance in the Bible
Rhoda takes part in only one story in the New Testament. Nevertheless she has a place among the other Interesting Bible People She is a lowly servant but has her part to play in the growing Christian church. We will let Rhoda tell her own story.
The photo is mine.
Rhoda Introduces Herself
My name is Rhoda. I'm a servant for John Mark's Mum, she's called Mary. She was with the other women at the empty tomb, when Jesus rose from the dead. Although I'm a servant she treats me like a daughter because we are all christians and are all equal.
We live in a lovely big house and often all the christians in our area come around to meet together and talk about the Lord and how we can tell more people about him and how he will forgive anyone who trusts in him and are sorry for what they have done wrong.
We had just had a terrible shock. The other John's brother James had been taken away by Herod's soldiers and he had beheaded him. There have been several king Herod's down the years,this one's grandfather is the one who had all the baby boys under two in Bethlehem killed, when Jesus was a baby. And his uncle was the one who beheaded John the baptist.
An Invitation to Pray for Peter
Just as we were beginning to get over that we heard that Peter had been carted off to prison too and when the Passover time was over they were going to kill him as well because Herod thought it would please the scribes and pharisees and the priests.
Mary had a big room in her house so she got me to tidy it up and then she sent a message to the other christians that everyone could come to her house and they could all pray for Peter. There's nothing like trouble to make you pray. And that's what we did. For three days we took it in turns to pray while others slept a little. People were crying as they prayed. Peter is so important to us; he's our leader and we depend on him so much. Things looked really desperate. We prayed but it was so hard to believe that anything good would result. We knew that this was the last day and tomorrow Peter would be taken out for a show trial by Herod and then executed.
Peter Kept on Knocking
On the last night I was getting a bit sleepy it was late at night.Then Mary asked me to fetch another jar of water as everyone was getting thirsty in the warm room with so many people in it. Just as I was going out there was a knock at the front door. It's my job to answer the door so I went to the door but I was a bit afraid and wondered if it would be soldiers there. But when I got to the door I looked through the grille and miracle of miracles there was Peter. I was so excited and overjoyed that I ran back into the big room and shouted out, "Peter is at the door." They all turned and stared at me as if I was mad. In fact they said,"You must be stupid Rhoda, how can he be there he's chained between two soldiers, with lots more around him besides to keep guard." I could still hear Peter knocking away at the door. I said again, "It is Peter, I know it is." Still Peter was hammering on the door. "It can't be Peter they said it must be his ghost." Isn't that just typical of us christians, we pray and pray and then we're surprized to have an answer almost as if we didn't believe our God cared for us at all.
Rhoda Insists She is Right
"It is Peter," I said,"We must let him in" So I led the way and opened the door and I couldn't resist saying,"I told you so!"They all made quite a lot of noise greeting Peter. It was a wonderful moment. But Peter motioned to everyone to keep quiet, we didn't want soldiers turning up.
He came in to the big room and although he must have been tired he told us all about his escape from prison and an amazing story it was. It was as if Herod was afraid he would escape because he had had him chained to two soldiers with lots more guarding the prison. But God had sent his angel to Peter and the angel had told Peter to stand up and when he did his handcuffs had just fallen away. Peter had put on his clothes, all this time thinking he was dreaming. Then the angel had motioned him to follow and they had passed two guardposts and then they came to the outer gate and it had just swung open of its own accord. The angel had led him to the end of the next street and then disappeared. This is when Peter had realized he was not dreaming and as Mary's house was nearby he decided to come there and was surprised when I left him waiting at the door. I don't know why I did it I was just so pleased our prayers had been answered that I wanted everyone to know.
I did say sorry to Peter but he just smiled at me. He said that at least I had believed it was him,which was good.
We all had something to eat and then Peter said he must go to a safer place and suggested we all split up and go our separate ways as there was still lots of danger while Herod was about. So we did that.
Rhoda Tells Us How Herod Dies
The next day there were ructions up at the palace. Herod had all the soldiers tell him what had happened. All they could say was that they had woken in the morning to find no-one in the handcuffs. Herod got in one of his tempers and had all the men involved killed. Not a very good job being a guard for Herod.
But he got his come uppance a bit later. He dressed himself up in expensive clothes sat on the throne and made a big speech. Everyone said it was the speech of a god, and he didn't put them right and then an angel of the Lord struck him and he died.
The Longer Picture
Some years later we heard Peter went to Rome and this time he did die for his faith but at least we had the years in between when he taught many things about our faith and made us stronger. As well as that we have his letters to us reminding us of so many important things.
I shall never forget those nights we prayed together. We weren't the most believing of people, we had lots of doubts, but we did keep on praying.
How important are you?
In the early church there were no priests and prelates dressed in gorgeous robes, instead even a servant girl like Rhoda was as important as anyone else in her community. She was persistent in declaring that the community's prayers had been answered and that Peter was at the door. We too should be persistent in telling what we know to be true. The gospel of Jesus that Rhoda believed is the same today, as we find it written in the Bible. Many "churches" may be preaching something else but the true gospel is that we need Jesus in our lives if we are to please God. Only Jesus has the perfection we need and he will give it to us if we ask him to forgive our sins. Being a sinner is an inevitable consequence of being a human being. We all suffer from being sinners, whoever we are. But if we come to Jesus for forgiveness he makes us sons of God. That means you are a most important person, the son of the king. That, of course applies to us women too.