December 8—Ministering Angels
Luke begins his account of the life of Christ with the story of Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth. Like their son, John the Baptist, their lives would be over-shadowed by the other Child—the Christ Child, and yet they play such an important part in the coming of Christ.
Who was this obscure couple? Luke gives quite a glowing testimony about them. After giving their lineage, Luke tells us that they were “both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless” (Luke 1:6). But Elizabeth was barren, and they were now “advanced in years” (Luke 1:7). But that was all about to change. Zacharias is serving as priest in the temple when the angel Gabriel comes to speak to him. Zacharias falls to the floor in fear, and, as so often is the case people in the Bible encounter heavenly beings, he is told, “Do not be afraid.” Gabriel then gives the good news of a son, and not only a son but a son with a mission.
So much is said in these five verses! He gives the child’s name: John. He tells of the “joy and gladness” that he will bring and that he will be great in God’s sight. His ministry will be to turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord and that he will possess “the spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17).
But Zacharias doubts Gabriel’s message. “I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years” (v. 18).
I’m not sure what Gabriel’s attitude was here, but he gives Zacharias a list of his credentials:
“I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings” (Luke 1:19). He then has the power to strike Zacharias mute. AND, everything happens just as Gabriel said.
So, what’s the point?
And Elisha prayed, and said, “LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2Kings 6:17 (emphasis added)
The Christmas story is full of angels. We read about them and sing about them, but do we realize that they are in our midst and have a purpose? Or do we just dismiss them as part of another time. Certainly, we can’t pray like Elisha or see them as his servant did, but that doesn’t dismiss their presence.
Angels are mentioned 192 times in the Bible, but two verses hold a very special meaning for believers:
For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. Psalm 91:11
For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ Luke 4:10,11
Take heart, dear reader! There really are angels—guardian angels—who watch over us! We may joke about them or just ignore them, but they minister to us in more ways than we can know or ever imagine!
Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
Hebrews 1:14 So, the next time you see our human expression of one of these magnificent helpers in a Christmas display, remember that you are not alone. They are here to help us. They are NOT the Holy Spirit, but they are our helpers. I hope someday we will be able to meet them, don’t you? And perhaps the next time that you are speechless, it may be Gabriel at work! 😊