Rhoda's name in Greek means “rose.” She was the foreign-born maidservant first mentioned in Acts 12:13 as the woman who is in the house of Mary, a wealthy Jerusalem widow and mother of John Mark. Mary, John Mark, and Rhoda were followers of Christ. After Herod had killed James, brother of John, he imprisoned Peter. Those in the Jerusalem Christian community began to pray unceasingly for him. The angel of God intervened and delivered Peter from the dungeon. Peter went straight to the house of Mary, where the faithful had gathered together for prayer. Peter knocked at the door of the bolted gate and called out.
Rhoda went to see who was calling at such a late hour (they may have been saying midnight prayers on Peter's behalf). Recognizing Peter's voice, she ran to tell the others, leaving Peter standing on the other side of the unopened gate, a dangerous place to be if the guards woke up and found him gone. When Rhoda told those inside the house who was at the gate, they told her she was mad. After repeatedly insisting that it was indeed Peter, he was finally welcomed by his astonished friends.
There is little else in the Bible about Rhoda. She appears to have been a loyal servant to Mary, and must have had a good heart, for she was happy to hear Peter's voice; so happy that she lost her head for a moment and left him standing outside the locked gate while she ran to tell the others. She must have felt jubilant that their prayers for his safe release had been answered. However, those gathered inside the house repeatedly called her mad. So firm was her faith that God had heard and answered their prayers, that Rhoda never wavered in her belief, unlike those inside Mary's house who were astonished. It was as if they couldn't believe that their prayers could actually be answered.