Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Why me?

About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. 2 He killed James the brother of John with the sword, 3 and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. 4 And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. 5 So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. 
6 Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. 7 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. 8 And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” 9 And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. 11 When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.” 
12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying (Acts 12:1-12).

This illustrates the mystery of providence. Two apostles are arrested. God lets one be martyred while he miraculously liberates the other. No doubt the church prayed for both to be delivered, but God only answered one prayer and not the other. It's not because Peter was worthier than James Bar-Zebedee. 

Answered prayer is grounds for hope while unanswered prayer guards against presumption. Sometimes Christians ask "Why me?" when they endure some ordeal while others are spared. That's a natural question. But even apostles had the same inscrutable experience. 


  1. I do find it interesting. On the one hand, we would like to be rescued from all persecution. On the other hand, one of the great witnesses that the apostles were telling the truth is the fact that they were tortured and killed and refused to recant their view. No one is going to die for something they KNOW is a lie. Ironically, had they lived peaceful lives, their testimony would have been less impressive.

    1. And of course Peter was ultimately martyred (Jn 21:18-19), just not on this occasion.

  2. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him.

    This might be another instance in which more than one angel was present, but a human observer only saw one. Peter only say the angel who woke him up, but there might have been a second angel invisible to Peter who opened the gate.