Summary: 1st Person portrayal of Peter during his imprisonment by Herod and his angelic deliverance.
(Setting: Peter is kneeling. His wrists are in chains - plastic chains wrapped twice around the wrists with the end held in the palm of each hand. The stage is dark and the lights are bro’t up to half power on this section of the stage.)
(These first words are mournful, reflecting the despair that Peter may have felt at the moment)
James - the brother of John - is dead.
The church is in danger.
And I am in chains… bound between two Roman soldiers.
They rotate them every 6 hours and two more guard the door. (wry smile) You would think they didn’t want me to leave!
But, they have good reason to be concerned. Several years ago, I was in another jail… much like this one. An angel came and opened the door, and I simply walked out and went to the Temple courts to preach more about Jesus.
But, that time, I wasn’t scheduled to be executed the next day. That time, I wasn’t chained between Roman soldiers. Roman soldiers would rather die than allow a prisoner to escape.
In fact, it’s well known, that if they ever allowed a prisoner to do so they would pay with their own lives. And so, they would just as soon kill me as to allow me to leave. King Herod is taking no chances that I will escape from his prison.
Perhaps you don’t know Herod. He is the grandson of Herod the Great. “The great…” now there’s a title for you. Herod was anything BUT great. He was a such a cruel and wicked man. He was known to have tortured and killed people simply because they displeased him.
YOU would know him because of the slaughter of children that took place in Bethlehem around the time that Jesus was born. He had heard that a new king had been born in the City of David… and he had no
intention of allowing this child to threaten his throne.
Herod the great was a wicked man. And his grandson - this King Herod - isn’t that much better…
Though he is more religious. He scrupulously obeys the laws of the Temple. Perhaps that is why God has spared him.
As for me… I have nothing for the man. As far as I’m concerned, he is of little value to man or God…
But I’ve been wrong before.
About 5 years ago, there was another man – Saul, from the city of Tarsus. He was a wicked man too. He had been responsible for the death of Steven, the first Christian to die for the faith. From that day on, Saul made it his mission in life to persecute and destroy the church. He had been on his way to Damascus to do that very thing when Jesus struck him down and blinded him.
Paul was told to go on to Damascus and wait at a street called Straight. It was there that Ananias – one of the Godly Christians who lived there – Ananias spoke with Saul about Jesus, and baptized him into Christ.
If God could show mercy to someone like Saul… he could even have mercy on someone like Herod
It’s so dark
It was dark like this the night that Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss.
It was dark like this on the night that I denied that I ever knew my master.
And now… tomorrow I am to be executed… and it’s so dark.
I’m so tired.
(wait a couple of seconds… and then raise light #5 – full power)
Get up quickly?
But, these chains (chains fall off wrists)
Of course, immediately…
(As I leave stage, let me look around a couple a bit before I go to communion table TURN OFF ALL LIGHTS for a couple of seconds… then raise lights 2 & 3 on communion table – half power)
That was several years ago. And you know, you would have thought that I would have expected that. I who had seen the miracles of Jesus. Had seen Jesus raised from the dead and ascending into heaven. I who had felt the power of God surging in my body and had the privilege of healing so many sick and even raising the dead to life. I who had been freed from a prison years before…
You would have thought that this would not have surprised me. (pause) But it did.
It seemed so unreal, that until I stepped out onto the street and the angel disappeared… I thought it was a dream… a vision.
But, as soon as I realized that it WAS real, I hurried to the home of Mary – the mother of John Mark
They were holding a prayer meeting there that night…
In fact, the entire church throughout Jerusalem was in prayer for me to be freed from prison.