Christmas is a time of year that within and outside of the church, we hear a little more about angels. We read about them in the Christmas Scripture readings, such as Luke 2 when the angels appear to the shepherds in the fields outside of Bethlehem. They are in the songs we sing and hear on the radio “Hark the Harold Angels Sing…” They are placed atop of Christmas trees. I am currently teaching a series of Bible classes on Wednesday nights on the topics of angles that I have entitled “Angels We Have Heard on High: A Study of Angels.” One of the things that fascinated me was how active angels were in the life of Christ as recorded in the gospels.
Angels are mentioned almost 300 times in both the Old and New Testament, but they are mentioned some 50 times just in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). They were very active in the ministry of Jesus. The Apostle Paul wrote this to the young preacher Timothy, “Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great: He was revealed in flesh, vindicated in spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among Gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory” (1 Timothy 3:16). Here are a few instances from the Gospels of angels interaction in the life of Christ:
- They predicted His birth. In Luke 1:30-33 the angel Gabriel comes to Mary to announce to her that the Son she would have was to be named Jesus and that He was the Son of the Most High.
- They were present at the night of His birth. In Luke 2:13-14 there was an angel and a “multitude of the heavenly host” who announced to the shepherds in the field that Christ the Lord, our Savior was born and encouraged them to go see and worship.
- They warned Joseph that Herod had plans to kill Jesus (Matthew 2:19-20).
- After Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, the Scriptures say, “Angels came and began to minister to Him” (Matthew 4:11).
- An angel from heaven came to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and give Him strength on the night of His betrayal (Luke 22:43).
- More than twelve legions of angels stood ready to come to Jesus rescue at His arrest, had He but simply asked His Father to send them (Matthew 26:53).
- It was an angle of the Lord who rolled the stone from Jesus’ tomb (Matthew 28:2).
- After His resurrection, angels announced that Jesus had been raised just as He said He would (Matthew 28:5-6).
- When Jesus ascended to His place at the right hand of the Father in Heaven, angels were present (Acts 1:10).
- Just as angels were involved in the first advent, announcing the coming of the Lord, they will be involved in the second advent, when Jesus comes again (Matthew 24:31).
The list above is not exhaustive and I have found other instances of angels’ involvement in the life of Christ through the Gospels besides these 10. From His birth to His death and resurrection, angels played an important role in the ministry of Jesus. Just as the Bible teaches that angels surround the throne of God in heaven and serve Him, they also surrounded Jesus and were active in attending to God’s only Son, God in the flesh, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.