Women of Scripture: Rhoda

Acts 12:1‑9  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 10
Rhoda, though young, was linked up with the little band of Christians at Jerusalem in the early days of the Church's history, and in the testing time of persecution.
Stephen, who so boldly and devotedly stood for the testimony connected with "the God of glory," had been stoned by a mob infuriated by his truthful utterances.
James, the Apostle, had been killed with the sword by Herod's orders, and now Peter was lying in prison chained to a guard, awaiting his execution the next day. Was he also to be taken from them? These were sad, anxious, apprehensive days for the Jerusalem saints, and, feeling the situation, they did the best thing, and the only thing they could do-they prayed "without ceasing to God for him." Day after day passed, and Peter was not released, and now it was, as far as they could tell, his last night on earth, the next morning being fixed by the authorities for his execution. How was it spent?
By Peter the night was spent in quiet, restful sleep; by the little company to whom this honored servant of the Lord was so dear it was spent in earnest prayer and supplication to God for him, and Rhoda, though young, was present at this midnight prayer meeting in Mary's house.
Here was a true, brave heart-true to the Lord and His interests on earth, and brave, to be so definitely associated with a tried and persecuted people.
The Lord takes account of her and, although we are not told her parentage, and what position, if any, she held in the household, her connection with His saints is noticed, and her name is handed down to us.
Suddenly the prayer meeting was interrupted by a continual knocking on the street door, and brave little Rhoda went to ask who was there. She knew it might be a band of soldiers to apprehend them for the truth's sake, but instead she recognized a well-known, dearly loved voice asking for admittance. In her childlike delight and excitement she neglected to admit this welcome midnight visitor, but instead ran back to the friends to tell the good news.
They were incredulous in spite of Rhoda's confidence, although they had been so constantly praying for Peter, and doubtless for his release.
The answer to their prayers had come and they could not believe it, but told Rhoda, the bearer of the good tidings, that she was mad.
Do we not see our own unbelieving hearts reflected here? Well might the Lord say, "Whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." Matt. 21:2222And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. (Matthew 21:22). How wondrous the grace that oftentimes grants a definite, loving answer to our petitions, although not accompanied with belief!
If Rhoda was not mad in her persistency that Peter was without, then reason, which is always opposed to faith, must ask another solution.
They therefore suggested that it must be his angel or spiritual representative-anything but belief in God's power exerted on behalf of His servant in answer to the desires of His people who had been crying mightily to Him.
The knocking, however, continued; so at last the door was opened, and when they saw that it really was Peter, they were indeed astonished.
Once within, and the ejaculations of surprise silenced, how much there was to tell, and Rhoda, with the others, was an attentive listener to the tale of God's wonderful deliverance of His imprisoned servant.
Roman guards, chains, bolts, bars, and heavy iron gates presented no difficulty to "the angel of the Lord," who got Peter clear of the prison and down the length of one street in the city, before leaving him. His heavenly guide did not dictate where he should go then; that was left to Peter's own choice.
He did not need to consider long; he knew where he was likely to find "his own company"-those who had a heart for the Lord's interests, and there he went and was received as we have already noticed.
What a great thing in these closing days of the Church's history on earth to find ourselves, like Rhoda, connected with a similar company, which, though weak, is yet dependent, and one to which the Lord and His interests are dear!