Who said Luke doesn’t have a sense of humor? He begins with the tragic announcement that the brother of John, James, one of the original twelve disciples and the first of the twelve to die a martyr’s death, was executed by Herod. Herod then arrests Peter and the assumption is that the general population was so pleased with the execution of James, that they would be equally, if not more, pleased with the execution of Peter. This would probably be his last night in jail, and his last night on the face of this earth. Then the humor starts.
Peter is so sound asleep in prison that the angel has to tap him on the side to wake him up. Now, I’ve never been in prison, much less slept in prison, but I’m guessing that if you have a sneaking suspicion that this might be your last day alive, you just might have a wee bit trouble sleeping. Instead, the angel comes, his light shines mightily, and Peter is still snoring away. WAKE UP!! He taps him on the side and then the details of his escape should not go unnoticed. The angel explains to Peter how he should get dressed. Fasten your belt, put on your sandals and make sure you wrap your cloak around you, would hate for you to catch a cold. He leads him past the guards and then out the main gate of Jerusalem. Just in case you were wondering, the gate opening of its own accord simply was a miracle. It would have taken an act of congress to open that gate in the middle of the night. No, seriously, it would have taken an act of the Roman congress to open the city gates at night.
But the adventure doesn’t end. Everyone is gathered at John’s house, the one who had just lost his brother at the hands of Herod. That is where the disciples and the believers are gathered, down a country lane away from the general population so no one could see them or hear them worship. Peter arrives at the gate and knocks. The maid recognizes Peter’s voice and … leaves him standing out in the road to go and tell the others. I absolutely love this scene. I would love to see it depicted in Hollywood where you have a very irate and anxious Peter saying: “Rhoda, open the gate, open the gate Rhoda. Please, open the gate.” Eventually she does and there is a happy reunion. There is much to laugh about in these verses, but certainly not if you are related to the Roman guards who did not experience a happy ending.
What you see above is the amphitheater in Caesarea Marittima which is where Herod went after this event in Acts 12, and then he dies after speaking to the crowd and the worms eat up his body. No explanation. Just don’t make yourself like a god. Bad things happen.