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Have You Opened the Door and Let Him In?
We will be looking at Acts 12: 1-19
Is Jesus knocking on your door?
What we can take away
Have you ever felt like you were in a helpless situation? A situation where it seemed like your fate was sealed. Where no matter what you did the outcome was going to be the same. I imagine this was one of those situations for Peter. But Peter didn't just give up, and neither did the church. In verse five it says "So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him." This is a very purposeful verse in that it describes them praying earnestly. I think back to the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew where in Chapter 7:7 it says "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you." Now one thing to keep in mind with this verse from Matthew is that it is a rough translation and that it should keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking.
Looking at this passage from Acts you can see all these things take place when it says that they were earnestly praying. It means that they were in constant prayer with the goal of having God deliver Peter from prison. This is important because it shows that praying can work if you do it in the right manner and not just a quick "God help me with this math test" as you are about to take it, knowing you didn't study the night before. Prayer is meant to be a tool that is constantly used not just when you need something. The early church understood that and that is what made their faith so real and so powerful.
Being saved by the Angel and the Believers' reactions
With how Peter was being guarded there was no way that he was going to be able to escape. He had two soldiers sleeping beside him and sentries were guarding the entrance. These guards were probably some of the best that Herod had because of the magnitude of the man that they had captured. Peter was bound by chains that would make it nearly impossible to fight against the guards and escape. It is also mentioned that the iron gate opened for them by itself. This is something that would be impossible to explain. This was a big and heavy gate. It was meant to be impossible to lift without a system of pulleys. Through the entire escape though it says that Peter thought that it was a vision. That it was when he came to himself that he realized that it was an angel of God that had saved him. He then went out, and he sought out the home of Mary, the mother of John. Many people were gathered here and prayed. It is possible that they were praying for safety and mercy for Peter.
It says in Acts 12: 12-15 "When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter's voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, 'Peter is at the door!'
'You're out of your mind,' they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, 'It must be his angel."
I want to stop there quick to ask the question of what if it would have ended here where they all just went on praying for Peter to be freed and not believing that he was already freed? What if they had ignored Peter? I bring this up is because there are many times where we could be praying, like the believers, to have Jesus come into our lives. But when we hear him knocking when we feel him calling out to go and serve him we say "No, that can't be him" "It must be something trying to distract me." There are sometimes where our concerns are in the wrong place. We are concerned about if we are good enough to be used by God or what are people going to say about us if we start doing things differently. Even Peter struggled when confronted with being asked if he was a follower of Christ when he denied him three times. And in the chapters of Acts before this we see Peter saying no to God again in a vision where God tells him to eat, and he refuses because he says that it is impure. But it states that God can make anything pure. Opening the door isn't the end of your Christian life. It is the beginning. It doesn't matter where you are in your walk. When you accept Jesus, and you start doing as he leads you to do. You are made pure in God's eyes.
When I was in middle school, my church went to Power Connection up in Minnesota. The speaker there talked about accepting Christ and the journey that we go on in our faith walk. He said he loved going to these huge church retreats because everyone would be on such a high for loving God and praising his name so much. But he didn't like how after that people didn't ever do anything to keep it going. It was a roller coaster effect where we would go up and down in our walk with Christ on being close to him. He said that this was an issue because that wasn't what faith was meant to be. Faith is meant to be a straight line that keeps going up. The more you walk in faith the closer you grow to God. For if we are constantly going up and down we are getting nowhere in our faith walk, and we are leaving the door open to be attacked and turned from our faith. I see a correlation between Rhoda's response to hearing Peter knocking. She was so overjoyed with Peter being at the door, but she didn't open the door instead she went to tell the others in the house. This is like when Jesus is knocking on our heart, and we are so happy. This is what we were praying for, but first, we go out and do something that we see as more important first.
Opening the door should be the biggest priority because if she would have opened the door and brought Peter to the believers first there would have been no question that he was alive and freed, but instead, they said she was out of her mind and dismissed it at being an angel. It goes on to read in Acts 12:16 "But Peter kept on knocking and when they opened the door and saw him, They were astonished."
Know that just as Peter kept on knocking so to will Jesus on your heart. He doesn't want to lose you. He will let you go on your own path, but he will keep on reminding you though that he is there and that he wants you to follow Him. Though it may seem tough at times to follow him it is important too. It is through the trials in life that we learn how to earnestly pray, how to constantly seek out his path, and how to constantly be knocking on the door to make other people believers as well. Now you have to ask yourself. Are you ready to open the door? Are you ready to let Jesus guide you?