Have you ever been frustrated when the word of the Lord over your life and the circumstances you find yourself in don’t seem to match up? When everything around you appears to be moving directly against God’s promise to you?
In Acts 12, the apostle Peter is in jail, guarded by 16 soldiers and awaiting to be beheaded the next morning. They had just beheaded James, and a year almost to the date of Jesus’ crucifixion, Peter too found himself on the brink of death. But what is Peter doing? Is he anxiously awaiting his execution? Nervously worrying about his untimely demise? No. Peter is sleeping.
What gave Peter such peace? A word from the Lord. In John 21, Jesus told Peter two things about the manner in which he would die. First, that he would die when he was old and, second, that he would stretch out his hands, by crucifixion. Peter’s faith in this word allowed him to believe that while he was in jail, this would not be his death because he was still young and the sentence was beheading, not crucifixion. His circumstance did not match the word that Jesus had given him. He was assured then that this would not be the time of his death. He believed the word of the Lord more than the reality of his current situation.
Later that night, the church outside contended for his release in prayer. Inside the prison, an angel came and struck Peter on his side, awoke him and walked him right out of the prison. The iron gates “opened to them of its own accord.” The gate opened to the authority of the man who had been awakened to the reality of the spirit. And now, the people who imprisoned him, the church that had been praying for him and Peter himself had seen the power and deliverance of God. That no limit, no boundary, no imposition created by man can stop the word and purpose of God. When we as Christians believe the word of the Lord over us, contend for it in prayer, and are awakened to the spiritual authority we hold, there is no opposition that can overcome us. And when we walk in this, the gates that try to imprison us are opened.