Rhoda is only briefly mentioned once in the Bible. Her story is told in Acts 12:12-17. Rhoda was a servant girl in the house of Mary, who was the mother of John Mark.
A group of people had gathered at Mary’s house to pray for the apostle Peter, who had been arrested and put in prison by Herod. Because of their prayers, God sent an angel to free Peter from prison without the guards knowing. After freeing Peter from prison, the angel left, and Peter went to Mary’s house. When Peter knocked on the door, Rhoda was sent to answer it. Upon recognizing Peter’s voice, she was so excited that she did not open the door, but ran to the group of praying people and told them who was at the door.
The praying people told her she was mad. Peter kept knocking. Rhoda kept insisting that Peter was knocking. Finally, they opened the door and were surprised to find that Rhoda had been right. I like how Herbert Lockyer summarizes Rhoda’s situation in All the Women of the Bible, “Peter knocked, Rhoda was shocked, and the saints mocked!” This servant girl, Rhoda, has some valuable lessons for all of us to learn from.
1. Rhoda was persistent. When Rhoda told the others that Peter was knocking at the door, they did not believe her. Rhoda knew what she had heard and could not be shaken from her truthful belief that Peter was free from prison.
When we know something to be the truth, we should not allow other people to change our minds. At times, the truth may sound impossible but that does not take away from its truthfulness. Jesus told us that He was the truth; therefore, we know our faith is real. Some may mock us for it or call us crazy, but their criticism should not stop us from talking about the truth. We must be persistent in sharing our faith and telling others what we know to be real.
2. Rhoda was glad to tell good news. Whenever I read about Rhoda, I always think, Hey, Rhoda! Why didn’t you just open the door and let Peter in? Everyone would have believed you then. According to Acts 12:14, “because of her gladness” Rhoda did not immediately open the door. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was SO excited and happy that she ran to tell those who had been praying that their prayers had been answered.
Just like Rhoda was glad to tell the good news of Peter’s freedom, we should be glad to tell the good news about Jesus. This is called the Gospel. Gospel comes from the New Testament Greek word evangelion which means “good news.” The fact that Jesus the Christ left His glory to be born of a virgin, to die on the cross for the sins of the world, to be buried, and then to be resurrected so we could have eternal life, is good news indeed. Such good news that the entire world needs to hear it. If we don’t tell, who will?
3. Rhoda believed God had answered their prayers. The last part of Rhoda’s story is sort of funny. A group of people had been praying for Peter for hours, yet when Rhoda told them Peter was at the door they didn’t even believe her. Rhoda did not doubt Peter’s voice when she heard it because she believed that God was hearing their prayers. The other people were praying, but they did not truly believe that God could answer their prayers.
When we pray for God to do something, our prayers must be coupled with faith. We must believe that what we are asking to be done, He will do. We must believe that with our God all things are possible.
James 5:15-16 reads, “And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up…the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Prayer changes things. Have faith that God hears you when you pray and believe that He will answer your prayers.
“It is as natural to Him to answer prayers as it is for us to ask. He delights to hear our petitions, and how He loves to answer them.” – The Kneeling Christian
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