Acts 12:11-15
Acts 12:11 (KJB)
And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.
Surety - Truth
Expectation - Anticipation
Once Peter was out in the street by himself, he then firmly realized that this was all real. The Lord had sent His angel to free him from the hand of Herod and also the Jews who were expecting Herod to put him to death in hopes of striking a death blow to the spread of Christianity. Peter knew it was all truly happening and also a partial fulfillment of the prophecy Jesus made concerning the fact that Peter would die at an old age.
Acts 12:12 (KJB)
And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.
Considered - Understood or became aware of
Now that he knew he was dealing with a real situation, Peter then went to the house of Mary where many of the church had gathered to pray because of the persecution which was now happening and also to pray for Peter. As Peter would have expected, even in the middle of the night a large group of Christians were praying.
Acts 12:13 (KJB)
And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda.
The house of Mary was a large home and the gate mentioned here would have been the type of gate which had a passageway leading to the front of the house. The one who came to the door may have been a slave girl or she was a paid servant in the house. Rhoda was a servant who served long hours and we see this by the fact that she was the one who answered the door. She may have been a Christian and was also praying with the rest in the large room upstairs but being a servant, when something needed tending to, it was her responsibility to attend to it.
Acts 12:14 (KJB)
And when she knew Peter's voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate.
Gladness - Joy
Rhoda did not actually see Peter at this moment but she definitely knew his voice and knew that he was standing at the gate hoping to be let in. She was so filled with gladness that she neglected to open the gate, instead she ran back to the group and reported that Peter was standing outside at the gate and their prayers were answered.
Acts 12:15 (KJB)
And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.
Thou art mad - Out of control or out of one’s mind
Here was the church gathered in prayer and saw the many miracles that God performed through the Apostles and now there seems to be a breach of faith. They were praying for Peter and God had answered their prayer by releasing him from prison, yet they believed not but Rhoda insisted that Peter was outside standing at the gate. Now can you see the scenario. Peter is just divinely released from prison and no doubt by now, the guards were probably looking for him. He is standing exposed on a street, desiring to come in and the church inside is having a debate as to whether it is him or his angel. It sounds like a congregational meeting or some type of theological council debating an issue. Instead of them going to the door, they will argue and keep Peter in peril and continue showing their own unbelief. They pray for a certain matter and when God answers their prayer, they argue that it is not an answer to prayer. This sounds so much like the modern church. Can you imagine Christians praying for something, God answers that prayer, and then they all claim that the answer to the prayer is a figment of someone’s imagination and that they are mad. It is amazing that God answers any of our prayers, especially when we have an attitude like, “I’ll pray, but God ain’t gonna answer my prayer.” Has much changed in 2000 years?