When he saw how much it raised his popularity ratings with the Jews, he arrested Peter - all this during Passover Week, mind you -
and had him thrown in jail, putting four squads of four soldiers each to guard him. He was planning a public lynching after Passover.
All the time that Peter was under heavy guard in the jailhouse, the church prayed for him most strenuously.
Then the time came for Herod to bring him out for the kill. That night, even though shackled to two soldiers, one on either side, Peter slept like a baby. And there were guards at the door keeping their eyes on the place. Herod was taking no chances!
Suddenly there was an angel at his side and light flooding the room. The angel shook Peter and got him up: "Hurry!" The handcuffs fell off his wrists.
The angel said, "Get dressed. Put on your shoes." Peter did it. Then, "Grab your coat and let's get out of here."
Peter followed him, but didn't believe it was really an angel - he thought he was dreaming.
Past the first guard and then the second, they came to the iron gate that led into the city. It swung open before them on its own, and they were out on the street, free as the breeze. At the first intersection the angel left him, going his own way.
That's when Peter realized it was no dream. "I can't believe it - this really happened! The Master sent his angel and rescued me from Herod's vicious little production and the spectacle the Jewish mob was looking forward to."
Still shaking his head, amazed, he went to Mary's house, the Mary who was John Mark's mother. The house was packed with praying friends.
When he knocked on the door to the courtyard, a young woman named Rhoda came to see who it was.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)