He knocked at the door in the gate, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to open it. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed that, instead of opening the door, she ran back inside and told everyone, “Peter is standing at the door!” You’re out of your mind!” they said. When she insisted, they decided, “It must be his angel.” Meanwhile, Peter continued knocking. When they finally opened the door and saw him, they were amazed. He motioned for them to quiet down and told them how the Lord had led him out of prison…”  – Acts 12: 13-17. 

In this section of the book of Acts, we encounter a number of important characters. There is King Herod: dark, threatening, ruthless and cruel. He had James the brother of John put to death by the sword and arrested Peter and imprisoned him. Then there is the figure of Mary, the mother of John Mark. It was in her home that the believers met for prayer and to which Peter came on his release from prison. Then there is Peter. He is in prison until an angel visited Peter’s prison cell and miraculously released him. In complete contrast to all of these we have the figure of Rhoda, who is a servant girl.

This passage tickled and surprised me. I wondered why Scripture includes the name of this girl who recognizes Peter’s voice and then runs away from the door instead of letting him in. There are many nameless people in Scripture. For some reason, Rhoda isn’t one of them. But think about the scene for second. People are gathered at Mary, the mother of John Mark’s house to pray for Peter’s release.

Peter, after his miraculous release from prison goes to the house and knocks on the door in the gate.  Rhoda, a servant girl, answers the door. More than likely, she asked, “Who’s there.” Rhoda wasn’t about to open the door in the middle of the night. When Peter identified himself, Rhoda hears Peter’s voice on the other side of the door and turns away from the door to run screaming through the house “Peter is standing at the door!” Their reply was “You’re out of your mind!” they said. When she insisted, they decided, “It must be his angel.” Peter keeps knocking and eventually they answer the door and to their amazement it was Peter. Apparently it was easier to get out of prison than to get into this prayer meeting. 

The feeding of the 5,000 and the story of Rhoda remind us that we should expect great things from God. God wants to bless us. God wants to take a little and turn it into a lot. Believing and expecting God to act and move is to be the norm and not the exception. Rhoda had such faith. She knew that God had freed Peter, and he was there at the door. She believed God would work a miracle in Peter’s life. She wanted to celebrate. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. How has God blessed you? How has God turned a little into a lot in your life? When you have experienced great joy, how did God come through?
  2. What can you do this week to expect great things from God?