The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
We recall that in Acts 12:17, Peter “went to another place.” Now, in verses 18-19, his disappearance is found out. He was, after all, under guard of four soldiers, imprisoned and kept in chains. There was no escaping. However, Peter has escaped, walking right out of the prison.
When morning came, he was discovered to be missing. This would bring shame upon Herod and his soldiers. It would indicate that there was a security breach, some sort of treason, possibly collusion to allow Christian teaching. It would also indicate that there is weakness in the kingdom. Herod could not allow this. Yet the prisoner was missing.
Herod conducted a search and doubtless took all the steps he could to keep the situation quiet. Peter, meanwhile, has made an effort to be far away and unnoticed. Some commentators from the early Christian period say that Peter went to the place one would be most likely to disappear into a crowd, Rome. This could reasonably explain the fact that a thriving Christian community was present within the Jewish part of Rome prior to Paul’s visit or the writing of Romans. It could also make a good deal of sense of first century statements that the church in Rome was built on a foundation of the apostles Peter and Paul.
Wherever Peter went, he brought Jesus with him. Whatever Herod did manage to do, it did not include finding and arresting Peter. In all that happened that day, and all that has happened since then, we can take confidence that the Lord who rescued Peter from prison is still using his servants, wherever they may be, to bring hope and help through Jesus to every nation.
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