And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. Acts 12:6
Peter’s good friend, James, had been put to death not to long ago by this Herod. Herod was trying to get brownie points from the Jews, and killing James had made them very happy. Herod knew that Peter was the ring-leader. To kill him, he thought, would make the Jews really happy. So he threw him in jail, until after the passover, then he would put him to death.
The passover came and went, and the day when Herod was going to bring Peter out was approaching. It was the night before his execution was going to take place. And what was Peter doing? Was he worried? Was he fearful? No, he was sleeping. Actually he was sleeping so soundly that an angel had to come and ‘smote’ him on the side. “Smote” is the same word the bible uses to describe when someone hits someone with intent to kill them. So when the angel arrived with the bright light and the light didn’t wake Peter up, the angel resorted to hitting him.
Peter was sound asleep.
Let me ask you this. Would you be sleeping well on the night before your head was to be taken off? You are chained uncomfortably to a wall, you are in a dark, dirty prison; not like the prisons today, where you have tv, and such, but a prison with rats and hardly anything to eat. I doubt you’d be sleeping well. But Peter was.
Peter had the peace that passes all understanding. The bible says this:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:6-7
Peter had the peace of God. This peace passes understanding, because there is no good way to understand how you could have peace in such a terrible situation. Isaiah also says this:
“You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” Isa 26:3.
Perfect peace is such a wonderful thing to have. I think there are soooo many people in this world who have never really experienced peace AT ALL. They have turmoil without and within. They can cover it up for a while with medication, or illegal drugs, or other distractions, but when they get by themselves the turmoil inside is there and they can’t escape from it. This is why some people have to take sleeping pills constantly and why some people can’t live with the tv off.
But you CAN have perfect peace. And trust me, its the most AWESOME feeling in the world. It’s the feeling of perfect satisfaction and tranquility. You have no care or worry in the world. You can sit down by yourself in a silent place and enjoy stillness of mind and soul. How lovely it is! I love it!
Peter understood Isa 26:3, and put it into practice there in the prison. He had his mind on the Lord. He also knew that death was coming for him anyway. The Lord Jesus had told him so in John 21:18-19. Maybe he figured, “Hey this is it. I’m going to see my Lord a little sooner than I thought.”
Personally, I don’t know how people can live without this perfect peace. Life must be so miserable. But you can have this peace. Isa 26:3 and Phil 4:6-8 show you how you can have it. Get to a place where your thoughts are on the Lord only. Sometimes that can take a little while, and it takes a bit of practice, but it’s well worth the effort. When you get to that place of peace it will be undeniable. The smile on your face will be so strong that it will take two ton-size bricks on both sides to bring it down. Nothing will be able to bother you. You won’t care about the world or it’s goods, you’ll have perfect inner satisfaction from the Lord and you won’t find anything close that can compare!