“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12) God used a sweet, gentle rose to tend and serve a Christian family. Rhoda, her naming meaning rose, was a domestic servant of Mary the Mother of Mark. Rhoda is mentioned only in passing, but her compassionate heart is remembered as the young maiden who forgot to open the door for Peter.
Mary of Jerusalem, the sister of Barnabas and the mother of Mark, was a rich widow who owned a large and conspicuous house in the city. During the days of great persecution, her lovely home was in constant prayer for the afflicted saints.
On the night in Acts 12:1-9, the Christians are in prayer concentrating on the deliverance of Peter, their leader. And as the church earnestly petitions the Lord, their prayers are answered and an angel of the Lord is sent to Peter in prison. Freedom from chains and bondage, the disciple quietly makes his way to Mary’s house. Knocking on the door, Peter greets a fresh maiden who is startled and astonished when she hears the familiar voice.
So overwhelmed with gladness and excitement, she fails to draw the bolts and admit Peter. Exuberantly, she runs to the those in prayer and joyously outbursts, “Peter is here! At the front door!”. Her young heart believed in God and in the power of prayer; knowing Peter’s voice, she would not be deterred by the sarcastic critical faces and voices of opposition.
“She knew it was Peter, and nothing could move her from that belief. Rhoda wore the red rose of courage so beautifully as she persisted against opposition to constantly affirm the truth.”  This resembles Mary of Magdalene’s testimony of being the first person to see the risen Jesus Christ. Running back to tell the disciples, they believed her words to be false and nonsense. But, it was Peter who ran to the tomb to see where his King was. Now, it is Peter who waits for someone to believe Rhoda and answer the door (Luke 24:11).
Rhoda would be undeterred. “No, it is Peter!” she emphatically insisted, unshakeable belief. Finally, believing it was an angel, several open the door to see the freed prison standing before their eyes. Astonished is the word the Bible uses to describe the emotions of those present. The saints had been praying for hours for Peter, yet when Peter knocked and appeared at the door, the did not believe it. Lack of faith mingled with their intercessions, and so they are surprised by the miracle God performed in Peter’s escape from prison . Rhoda is a reminder to all, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-12)
Precious Rhoda was one of the first Christians to witness a miracle. Her testimony and the gathering of those there probably retold the account of Peter dozens of time. Maybe while laughing, but definitely in awe, the saints could reminisce of God’s amazing grace, the power of prayer, and the miracles of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.