By Mike Kasdorf
The book of Acts is truly a fascinating narrative, compelling enough to rival any of today's top movies or TV series. The events in chapter 12 read like something adapted to an episode of 24 or a Tom Clancy-inspired movie.
However, amidst the drama and intrigue, it can be easy to miss the powerful threads of how the church is being continually woven, reinforced, and expanded. While re-reading the passage a few times, I was continually struck by vs. 24: But the word of God continued to spread and flourish. Emerging from Peter’s imprisonment and escape, we see a root of the early church’s spreading and flourishing. Namely, that in the face of persecution and seemingly insurmountable odds, God's people can participate in His redemption of all that seems lost or hopeless.
Now, I'd have to guess that most of us have not faced imprisonment with an impending execution, but there's probably someone reading this who has faced a situation of figurative physical imprisonment or torture. And it's probable that every one of us has dealt with (and may be dealing with right now) some kind of mental, emotional, relational, or psychological situation that felt hopeless or bleak. Which is why Peter's example is so powerful and relevant -- when God sends an angel to set him free, Peter doesn't question, doesn't doubt, doesn't ask for clarification. He simply obeys even the simplest of commands: “get up”, and “put on your cloak”.
Through obedience, despite hopeless circumstances, Peter is led to freedom.
Then once free, the first thing Peter does is to go to a friend's house to tell them what God has done. I get a kick out of the response: "You're out of your mind!" But that's the risk that any of us take when sharing with others the work that God has done for us. This is how the word of God continues to spread and flourish!
Are you currently in a bleak or hopeless situation? Each step in obedience is a step toward freedom. Toward flourishing.
Have you been brought out of a place of hopelessness? If so, what have you done with that story? Who knows of the great works that God has done for you?
May we all continue taking part in the spreading and flourishing of the word of God.