We’re Escapin’ From The Jailhouse Rock!
Tweedalee, tweedalee, can you hear the jailbird sing? Tweedalee, tweedalee, can you set the jailbird free? When we hear the word “jail,” we often think that someone has committed a crime or has done something wrong-stolen money from the store, killed someone, or took the last two hot apple pies from McDonalds, even though you’ve been waiting in line for 35 minutes (that’s just not right, y’all). When we hear that someone is in jail, we automatically assume that he or she is a “bad” person-but that’s not always the case. Some people are mistakenly put in jail for crimes they didn’t commit; some people are put in jail for innocent offenses, such as “accidentally” running a red light (I know that you wanted to get to Buffalo Wild Wings before the 2-For-1 special ended, but your secret is safe with me). Even still, some people are put in jail for what they believe in. This person hasn’t hurt anyone, hasn’t stolen anything, and hasn’t said a bad word; this person simply believes in someone or something that is considered “bad.” What happens when a person is thrown in jail for believing in Jesus? This brings us to the story of Peter escaping from prison.
In the 12th chapter of Acts (Holy Bible), Judea is under the reign of King Herod. King Herod always had a wedgie and woke up on the wrong side of the bed-he hated God, he hated anyone who worshiped God (through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ), and he enjoyed seeing Jesus’s followers (Christians) thrown into jail, beaten and killed (including one of Jesus’s original disciples, James (John’s brother)). Peter had been thrown in jail for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ (we remember our buddy, Peter! Gravity Can’t Hold Jesus Down! ->https://jesusbedtimestories.com/gravity-cant-hold-jesus-down/), and King Herod wanted to make sure that Peter didn’t escape: Peter had chains on his wrists, guards were placed in Peter’s cell around the clock to watch him like a hawk (caw!), and even MORE guards were placed outside of the doorway to make sure that Peter didn’t go anywhere (King Herod is being really extra right now; take that drama to TNT). King Herod thought that he was smarter than the average bear, but he failed to realize that the church was praying for Peter, God can do all things, God is in control, and when God is ready to make moves, there isn’t a thing that man can do about it (YES!). While Peter was asleep in his cell, the day before his trial, an angel suddenly appeared before him (there was a bright light), and the following happened:
Acts 12: 7-9 (KJV): And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision.
Houston, we have a problem! An angel struck Peter on his side, broke the chains on his wrists (Break every chain! Break everrryyyy chaiiinnnnnnn!), and told him to quickly get up, get dressed, and follow him. Peter wasn’t sure what to make of this; was he dreaming? Had he eaten too many slices of pizza before bed? Didn’t his parents ever tell him that watching “Unsolved Mysteries” before bed was NOT a good idea? Peter was a deer in headlights (without being plowed by a Ford F-150 first; my car! Haha), but he listened to the angel, snuck past the first two guards (those amateurs), made it out of the iron gate (the gate miraculously opened on its own-won’t God do it?!), and started walking down the dark street (why does this remind me of every 1980’s movie ever? Haha). As Peter walked down the street, the angel disappeared (Poof! Abra-cadabra! Tadaaaa!), Peter realized that this was real life and he was actually free (someone pinch me!), and he quickly went to visit his friends (dawg, you won’t believe what happened!).
Peter went to Mary’s house (John Mark’s mother), where the church had been praying for him. As Peter knocked on the door of the gate, a servant girl, Rhoda, heard his voice, knew it was him, and ran and told the others that Peter was outside (OOOHHHH MYYYY GOOOSSSHHH!). Oddly enough, the others didn’t believe Rhoda, thought that she had been sipping the happy juice again, assumed that it was only Peter’s angel at the door, and called Rhoda “mad” (I’d be mad for them thinking I would lie about such a thing!). Weren’t you all the same ones that had been praying for Peter, claiming to believe in God’s power? Why would you doubt his ability to deliver Peter from prison? Mercy and grace. Jesus loves you. Peter continued to knock on the door, and when the others opened it and saw Peter standing there, in the flesh (Rhoda told you all so!), they were shocked (Mary jumping around like she had ants in her pants…priceless!). Everyone started talking at one time, Peter couldn’t hear himself think, and he nicely told everyone to PIPE DOWN! Haha. Peter explained to them that God had delivered him from prison, and that he wanted them to tell James (the other James that hadn’t been killed) and the others about his miraculous escape from prison (aye, aye, Sir!). The others did so, and Peter kept moving (nothing to see here!). When the jail guards woke up and realized that Peter was gone, they started running around like chickens with their heads cut off (Where’s Peter?! Where’s Peter?!). King Herod found out that Peter had escaped and couldn’t be found, he questioned the guards, and when the guards couldn’t explain how Peter managed to escape, King Herod had all of the guards killed (Can we talk about this first, King?! Why I gotta die, King?! Why I gotta die?!). A few days later, King Herod (with his big head) made a speech before the people, where he took credit for every good thing that had happened in Judea and didn’t give God the praise. At that very moment, an angel of the Lord appeared, struck King Herod down (KABOWIE!), and King Herod was eaten by worms and died (say hello to God’s little friend!).
Ahhh, nothing like seeing good trump evil once again. I wonder how this story would have played out in modern times? The people have spoken, and I’m listening! Let’s do this! NOTE: I will be utilizing modern-day language, technology and ways of living in this story, as we’re picturing this happening in the present day.
We’re Escapin’ From The Jailhouse Rock!
Biblical Reference: Acts 12:1-19 (KJV)
*King Herod has waged war against all Christians, throwing them in jail and killing them. Peter is sleeping in jail the day before his trial-chains on his wrists, in between two guards, with additional guards sitting outside of the doorway*
Angel of the Lord (nudging Peter in his side): Peter?! Peter?! Get up man! I’m about to break you out of here.
Peter (waking up, grumbling): *Mmmm* *Hmmm* Mommy, is that you?
Angel of the Lord: Peter?! It’s me, Ace the Angel. I’m here to get you out of here. Hurry up and put your clothes on. We don’t have time to waste. Ren and Stimpy over here are in la-la land. Get dressed and follow me.
Peter: Am I dreaming?
Angel of the Lord: No, but you’ll be seeing stars if you don’t hurry up! I have broken the chains on your wrists. God is teaching us taekwondo, and I’m almost on the last lesson.
*Peter, thinking that this is a vision, listens to the angel, gets dressed, and he and the angel pass by the first two guards, unnoticed*
Peter: How are we going to get past this iron gate?
Angel of the Lord: You don’t get out much, do you? *The iron gate miraculously opens on its own, and Peter and the angel walk out of the prison and down the dark street-it’s burnt toast levels of dark.*
Peter (singing to himself): I feel good! Du-na-na-na-na-na-na! I knew that I would now! Du-na-na-na-na-na-na! *The angel suddenly disappears* -Ace? Ace? Where are you? I swear he’s always playing around; going missing in action. I’ll catch him later. I have to tell Mary and them what just happened.
*Peter walks to the house of Mary (John Mark’s mother), where the church has been praying for his protection. He goes up to the door and knocks*
-Knock, knock, knock!
Rhoda (Nanny): Mark residence! Who is it?
Peter: It’s Peter! May I come in?
Rhoda: *ecstatic and about to hyperventilate* Oh my goodness! Peter! It’s Peter! Hey, everyone! Peter is at the door! Peter is at the door!
Everyone: Stop playing, Rhoda. This isn’t a laughing matter. We all know that Peter is in jail right now. We’re asking God to deliver him and keep him safe. God, please protect Peter and bring him out of jail, in the mighty name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Rhoda: I’m serious! Peter is at the door! He’s standing right outside the door!
Everyone: Have you been drinking again? Peter is not at the door! You probably just saw his spirit or something. Slow down on the cocktails. You sound crazy right now.
Rhoda: Go see for yourself.
*Peter continues to knock at the door, and the others answer*
Mary: OH MY GOODNESS! Peter! It’s really you! It’s really you! You’re alive! Come on in!
*Everyone starts talking at once, and it’s giving Peter a headache. We need some order up in here*
Peter: Silence! I’ve always wanted to say that. Haha. Yes, I am alive and well, everyone. God protected me and brought me out of prison. He sent his angel to break me out of my cell last night, the guards didn’t see or hear anything, and I am here, right now, in the flesh, as proof of his goodness. Thank you, Jesus! God is good! Hallelujah! Prayer definitely changes things!
Everyone: Thank you, Jesus! God is good! Hallelujah!
Peter: I need you all to do me a favor. I need to keep moving so that the guards don’t catch me, but tell James and everyone what just happened. I’ll be back as soon as the coast is clear. I love y’all! Thank you!
*Everyone spreads the word about Peter’s miraculous escape from prison, while the prison guards wake up to quite a surprise*
Prison Guard#1: Where is Peter?! Where is he?! The chains are on the ground, he’s nowhere to be found, and King Herod will be here any minute! We’re dead!
Prison Guard#2: I don’t know! I don’t know! I’ve looked everywhere for him! How did he sneak out of here?! You know that he has those big, loud, country grape-stomping feet! We should have been able to hear or at least smell him! I don’t believe this!
Prison Guards #3 and #4 (brothers): We just want to tell our Momma that we love her. We gon’ get it! We gon’ get it!
*King Herod pays the guards a visit*
King Herod: Where is Peter?! I told you all to watch him! What were you all doing, watching the Celtics lose again?! I told y’all to rotate, have everyone sleep in shifts, so that someone was always watching Peter at all times! You morons are worthless!
All Four Prison Guards: We’re sorry! We didn’t mean to lose him! We don’t know what happened! Honest!
King Herod: Save it! I don’t want to see your faces ever again! You all are fired! Get out of my jail! *Kids, guards aren’t killed for not watching the inmates nowadays, but they’ll definitely get fired!*
All Four Prison Guards: Please give us another chance! We don’t want to go back to eating sardines and soggy crackers! We just started pretending like we enjoy eating sushi!
King Herod: GET OUTTTT!!!!!
*All four prison guards leave their posts in shame, jobless and looking like McGoofies from McDonalds*
King Herod (in a speech a few days later): My fellow Judeans, I have worked really hard to give you all the best lives possible-good jobs, good schools, quality healthcare, a top of the line police department. I’m not one to brag, but I do think that you all owe me a round of applause. As a matter of fact, you all should chant my name, start doing the wave, do one of those Humpty-Dumpty dances that you all do, and give me your constant praise and adoration.
The People: This is not the work of man, but the work of God!
King Herod: God, Smod! God hasn’t done anything! I did all of this! I deserve all of the credit! When I say “King,” y’all say “Herod!” Kin-
*before King Herod could even get the word out, an angel of the Lord struck him down (you better recognize, son!), and he was immediately eaten by worms and died a slow, painful death*
God for the kill-shot: I’m finished with you! As we can all see, prayer changes things. The church prayed for Peter’s protection in prison, God sent his angel to help Peter to escape, and Peter was a free man. Never doubt God’s power. When we pray to God in the mighty name of Jesus Christ, he hears us, and things happen. All that we need to do is believe. God bless you all, I love you all, and I’ll see you all on the next one!