The very night when Herod was about to bring him out, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, with sentries before the door guarding the prison; and behold, an angel of the Lord appeared, and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, "Get up quickly." And the chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, "Dress yourself and put on your sandals." And he did so. And he said to him, "Wrap your mantle around you and follow me." And he went out and followed him; he did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened to them of its own accord, and they went out and passed on through one street; and immediately the angel left him. And Peter came to himself, and 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." When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a maid named Rhoda came to answer. Recognizing Peter's voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and told that Peter was standing at the gate. They said to her, "You are mad." But she insisted that it was so. They said, "It is his angel!" But Peter continued knocking; and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, "Tell this to James and to the brethren." Then he departed and went to another place. Now when day came, there was no small stir among the soldiers over what had become of Peter.
It is as if Luke is writing up his interview with Peter. "I didn't know what was happening, because it wasn't until he left me that I woke up!" When Peter did fully regain his senses he knew he was still in great danger. Such an escape put the entire company of believers in danger. It is indeed a strange and thrilling story. Was Peter banging on the door of Mary's house late at night? Then when they finally opened the door why tell the gathering to be quiet? So maybe he wasn't making a loud noise. And it seems that it is his escape that has to be kept quiet. He told them briefly what had happened and then he left with this message, "Tell James and the brothers." This James was Jesus' brother, later to become the leader of the Jerusalem church. Peter had to hide. We don't know where the other apostles were. They were probably in hiding too. But why visit Mary's house? Wouldn't it put her and the others in danger, particularly with Agrippa on the rampage? Perhaps Peter had to visit to pass information on to James and the brothers for their safety? The angel helped Peter escape from Agrippa's grasp. And the believers needed to know this. As Luke tells it, Peter was still uncertain how it had come about. So when Luke adds "there was no small stir among the soldiers" we have to wonder. Angels don't usually make an appearance that puts the lives of ordinary soldiers at risk of blood-thirsty kings. Obviously the situation was grim and not just for the believing community. The situation the apostles faced had changed from what it had been a few years previously before Agrippa became king. Now the king was humiliated, and whether he believed in angels or not, Peter has to assume he would be out for blood. Peter had to hide.