“Who is it?” A voice, slightly above a whisper, comes from the other side of the door.
“It’s me, Matthew.”
A latch releases. The door cautiously swings open as a head peaks through. With a sigh of relief a hand reaches out and quickly pulls him in. The door closes almost catching the visitor’s clothes. The latch clicks shut.
The two men hug; separating they look deeply into each other’s eyes.
“You’re so late. We thought you too had been captured or even….”
There was no need to say “killed” as it is readily transmitted through the concern on their faces.
“Come, the rest of our group has been here praying since Peter’s capture. We heard he would be executed in the morning.”
“I was hoping others would be here praying when I heard the news. After James was murdered nothing seems to make sense. And now…Peter’s in prison…and…!
As Matthew enters into the small, quiet room, gasps of surprise erupt. Soft praises and hugs are exchanged. In a side room, women’s whispering is heard as one of the men goes to tell them Matthew has arrived. They flow en masse over to greet him with tears of joy.
With the women returning to the kitchen, the men restart their petitions to God while careful not to be heard outside. Their fears flow freely to the Father along with their trust in Him. They’re happy they are safe and together for now but Peter’s welfare is foremost, knowing after the Passover Herod plans to kill him.
Today is the Feast of Unleavened Bread marking the end of Passover. Daylight is fading to darkness casting its shadow over the group as well. Which becomes more evident when there’s another knock at the door? Glances go around the room, is anyone else missing? No.
The same thought runs through everyone’s mind: They’ve come for us now too!
“Answer the door,” an anonymous voice is heard, yet no one moves. Men frozen, waiting for another to act.
“I don’t think anyone heard us praying. Perhaps if we send one of the women they’ll think only women are here and not bother us.”
“Fine. We’ll send your wife.”
Soft chuckles ease the tension.
“Perhaps he has a point.”
“No, I mean about not sending a man.”
A small girl enters the room with a tray of unleavened bread and wine.
“The Passover meal is ready if you are can stop praying for a little while. Where do you want me to place this?” She asks.
“Rhoda, why don’t you place it here on the table? And…would you mind seeing who’s at the front door”?
Eyes swing to the one who said this. Expressions of unbelief and wonder change to fear and, perhaps, relief when Rhoda turns and heads around a corner.
She cheerfully skips to the front door having only a vague understanding of what has been transpiring. She only knows Peter is not here and everyone has been praying for his safety. And she, a little girl, has been asked, by the men, to answer the door!
“Hello, who is it?”
She jumps with excitement racing back into the room scaring the men, some jump to run out the back. The women hear the commotion and coming to the kitchen doorway the two groups almost collide.
“It’s Peter! It’s Peter! He’s at the front door!” Rhoda exclaims.
Expressionless faces greet her. Bewildered by the silence and inaction, she too is speechless.
“It’s his angel. They’ve killed Peter,” one of the women says.
“No, Herod plans to kill him tomorrow, publicly, to please the religious leaders.”
“Perhaps, then it’s his guardian angel come to warn us about something,” she tries to clarify.
“If it is an angel wouldn’t he just walk right through the door? He wouldn’t need to knock.”
Knock, knock, knock.
Becoming frustrated because no one seems to believe her, shouts, “It’s Peter, I tell you. I know his voice.”
“Answer the door,” the voice comes again.
Knock, knock, knock, knock.
As if in unison they move slowly toward the door but hesitate before opening it. Eyes meet, all wondering if it really could be Peter.
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