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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Salter Goodwin

Who is Knocking at the Door

It was not a social gathering at the house of Mary, mother of John Mark, in Jerusalem.  It was a prayer meeting.  Their spiritual leader, Peter, was in prison and they were praying for his release.  Prison for Peter probably meant a death sentence.  The recent news that James, John's brother had been executed spurred every desperate prayer they prayed.


Mary had a servant girl named Rhoda, whose name in Greek means “rose.” At this secret prayer meeting at night, sleepy eyed Rhoda was probably sitting in a corner waiting for everyone to leave so she could straighten the room and go to bed.


But this was going to be a night she would remember, and not because of lost sleep.


First, there was a knock at the door, intense without being obnoxious. But who would knock at night? A latecomer to the prayer meeting? Some Roman official com to disband the gathering, or worse, haul everyone to prison. 


Rhoda had no choice.  It was her job to answer the knock at the door.  Rhoda approached the door with fear.  Peter sensed someone on the other side and probably identified himself in a whisper loud enough for her to hear, “It’s Peter.”


Peter?  Wasn’t that who her mistress and the others were praying for?  Peter, the one who had been in this very house preaching recently?


Rhoda will always be known as the girl who forgot to let Peter in.  Instead of opening the door, she ran to interrupt the prayer meeting the the announcement:  “Peter’s at the door.”


Sure he is, everyone thought.  Mary was beside herself, already thinking of how to discipline her servant.  However, her guests responded first:  “You’re crazy.  Land eave us let us get back to our important prayers.”


But Rhoda insisted: “.  It’s Peter at the door.”


“Probably an angel.” They responded, sounding a bit like a put-down.

Who broke the disconnect, we don’t know.  Acts says, “they” opened the door.  Did they all go to prove Rhoda wrong only to find out she wasn’t? The desperate prayer meeting turned into a celebration.  Peter told his story and commissioned the group to tell it to the other believers to strengthen them.


Rhoda returned to the back where she belonged and smiled because she had been right.


While we don’t know what this encounter meant in Rhoda’s life, we can hope that she became a believer that night.  While it was the practice that servants of a household participated in the religion of their master, that doesn’t always mean they put their heart in it. Hopefully, Rhoda did.


Usually, lessons for this story point fingers at the prayer partners that gathered that night.  But let’s turn the spotlight on Rhoda.  What can we learn from a simple, trusting, obedient, just doing my job Rhoda?


·       She was first.

She went to the door first.  She recognized Peter’s voice first.  She believed that the people’s prayer had been answered.  Never despise a background seat.  Sometimes it helps you show up first.


·       She was fast.

She ran to tell the prayer warriors the good news.  She didn’t second-guess or fear a negative reaction.   She wasted no time getting the good news to them. 


·       She was faithful.

She was faithful to her mistress and did what was expected of her.  But God saw Rhoda as a budding rose and gave her a chance to believe. 


Take the Rhoda test.  Are you willing to be first in the background?  Are you fast to do what God calls you to do?  Are you faithful, even when it is tedious or inconvenient?  What will you find today on the other side of an invitation to see God at work?


Don't forget!. This is the last post for the summer. I'll be back with fresh material in September. Until then, refer to your email for posts you may not have seen.

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