Peter walked around the corner of the building. The doors were locked and the windows securely latched. He didn’t really think he could get in, but he had to try. The people inside were stressed to the point of panic. Obviously they had secured the building. What he didn’t expect was the little girl’s eyes peeking out of the window. He circled back to the front door and knocked again. This time with more force and urgency. Then he ducked under the fig tree that had grown up on the right side of the doorway to stay out of sight. He stood, willing his friends to open the door. Knocking again the little girl who had peeked out at him from the window, opened the door a crack. Their eyes connected and looked at each other for mere seconds, and then the door shut and latched again. Peter kept knocking when suddenly strong arms reached out and pulled him inside. Crushed by the hugs and pulled from person to person, Peter told them of what had happened to him, from the sudden release of his chains to the angelic arms that pulled him out of the prison and left him in the middle of the road. He left out no detail. How it all happened and how he got free was nothing short of miraculous.
The simple fisherman changed from being a common laborer, to a dangerous advocate for the Kingdom of God. He spoke of a new kingdom and its new king. He performed miracles and spoke like a scholar who had spent a lifetime in school. The man no one had noticed before was now a public figure and a wanted man. His life could not have changed more dramatically. Preaching the Good News that Jesus had risen from the dead, paid the ultimate price for sin, and established a new kingdom made him the enemy of the Jewish leaders and the Romans alike. Now that he had escaped the prison, he would be hunted – again. How long he would run he didn’t know, but he wouldn’t change his life for anyone else’s. He would die if he had to.
We are living in days like Peter. There is unrest in our land and peace is in short supply. But Jesus escaped the prison of hell and is standing at the doorways of our hearts waiting, and knocking to be let him inside. Questions of whom to believe and what to believe have left us fearful and frustrated, just like the early church. Many have locked up their hearts and have hoped that by baring that door they have made themselves safe. Oh, we peek out the windows, and occasionally open the door a crack, but fear causes us to quickly close it again, not realizing that they have to open their hearts to allow the peace of God to enter.
I know many of you are fearful. Life this past year has been difficult, and many of you have suffered a great deal. Some of you have lost loved ones and others have lost their businesses and some their homes. The health crisis that this world is in has left us lonely and scared. But Jesus is there. He is safe. You can trust him to be with you, comfort you, and give you peace. Don’t just look out the window, hoping for help to come. Don’t leave him standing outside. Take a chance. Open your door. Let him in. He would die for you if he had to. Oh, wait…He already did!
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. ESV
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. And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. ESV