Rhoda (biblical figure)

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Peter Returns by Johann Christoph Weigel, 1695. Rhoda is in the upper left of the woodcut.

Rhoda is a minor character in the New Testament. She appears only in Acts 12:12-15. Rhoda (whose name means "rose"[1]) was a servant girl in the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark. After Peter was released from prison, he went to the house and knocked on the door. Rhoda came to answer it, and when she heard Peter's voice she was so overjoyed that she rushed to tell the others, and forgot to open the door for him. She told the group of Christians who were praying that Peter was there. They did not believe her at first, and told her she was out of her mind. When she kept insisting that it was Peter, they said, "It is his angel." Yet Peter kept on knocking and eventually they opened the door for him. Amusingly, Peter's release from prison came as a result of the intervention of an angel who miraculously led the apostle out of his cell, passing guards and gates in the process, yet Peter was unable to gain entry through a front door because of the absent mindedness of a servant girl.

Jaroslav Pelikan suggests that it is "difficult not to smile when reading this little anecdote,"[2] while F. F. Bruce says that the scene is "full of vivid humour."[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Joseph Henry Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, RHODA.
  2. ^ Jaroslav Pelikan, Acts (Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2005), 148.
  3. ^ F. F. Bruce, Commentary on the Book of the Acts (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964), 251.