“Then, Arise in Jesus Name”
The early church suffered extreme persecution and oftentimes martyrdom. In Acts 12, Herod had James killed. He saw that it pleased the Jews, so he imprisoned Peter with the purpose of having him killed, too. Herod delivered Peter into the keeping of four quaternions of soldiers; that is sixteen men. Peter is bound in chains between two soldiers. He was so secured by Herod that he was imprisoned within three gates; each gate was guarded by a soldier (history declares that three walls surrounded Jerusalem). The iron gate was strongly plated with iron for security. Why did Herod go to such extremes to guard one man? Well, do you remember the story of Jesus’ resurrection? Herod had certainly heard from Pilate, or others, that Jesus’ body had been placed behind a great stone that was securely sealed. Soldiers were placed to keep watch, but something happened. Yes, the angel rolled away the stone. Jesus was no longer in the grave. Herod thought he would take extra measures to secure this disciple of Jesus, Peter. Would his efforts work?
Peter is asleep in prison. Have you ever wondered how that he could sleep knowing that he was to be killed the next day? His trust and peace was in the Lord in life or in death. Notice in Acts 12:5, “Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.” They had seen that Peter’s life was in great danger. James’ life had been taken; what would keep Herod from taking Peter’s? God heard their prayers. He sent His angel to Peter. This angel was not hindered by walls, gates, soldiers, swords, or Herod. He shook Peter until he was awakened; raised him up; told him to arise; and then the chains fell off.
Now, Peter could have just laid there. He could have looked at the soldiers on each side of him, considered the three gates guarded by soldiers, remembered James’ fate, and been paralyzed for fear of circumstances. Instead, Peter hearkened unto the Words “arise up;” and when he did, it was then that the chains could not hold him. It was then that no soldier could stop him. It was then that no gate could imprison him. It was then that death could not have him. Did you know that Jesus said, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed?” Galatians 5:1 says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath (past tense) made us free…” We are free through the finished work of Christ Jesus, but we must arise to that freedom. It is then and only then that chains that bind fall powerless to the ground.
There was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years. She was bowed over; she “could in no wise lift up herself” (Lk. 13:11). Jesus laid his hands on her and then she raised herself up. Jesus said, “And ought not this woman being a daughter of Abraham whom Satan hath bound…be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” (v.16). If we are born-again, then we, too, are Abraham’s seed (Gal. 3:29), and Satan has no right to hold us in his bondage. So then, “Arise in Jesus’ Name and be free.” Make a decision that you are not lying down in Satan’s bondage any longer. As an act of your faith, spiritually, physically, and emotionally stand up, believing that you receive your freedom; freedom that Jesus bought and paid for in His finished work at Calvary. Amen!