“6 Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. 7 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. 8 And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” 9 And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. 11 When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.” (Acts 12:6-11 (ESV)
That had to be like waking up in a Salvador Dali painting, except he woke up in the midst of this very real world, came to himself. The Angel springs Peter from prison on the night when he was going to be beheaded. Peter is too dumbfounded to know what is happening until it is done. This won’t be the last time disciples are sprung from prison in Acts. But this time the jailers are left to their own fate. In later events God will use the event to save the jailer too.
Peter, responds to it all, sure that the Lord sent his angel to rescue him from the hand of Herod. Peter it seems was ready to dies a martyr, but God wasn’t ready for him to die a martyr. This would happen much later in Rome, where Peter would be crucified upside down insisting he was not worthy to die in the manner of his Lord. There too Peter will go willingly to his death rather than deny Jesus Christ. But Martyrdom is up to the Lord. It isn’t something that we seek, or run away from. We know that to die is gain. But every day that we wake up alive in this world is a day that the Lord has use for us, a day that he has bestowed upon us to live, and suffer this world under his grace knowing that he has secured for us our salvation.