The Ministry of Angels in the Life of Jesus
Angels were intricately involved in laying down the foundation for the future direction of the ministry of Jesus. Angelic involvement in the life of Jesus confirms the fact that He has been approved by God and appropriate for man’s redemption.
Luke 1: 26-37
Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings favored woman! The Lord is with you. Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
There are at least eleven recorded cases of the ministry of Angels throughout the life and ministry of Jesus. These cases are found mainly in the Gospels. They span a time from before His birth to the time of His ascension to heaven from the Mount of Olives.
At various critical times in His life, angels were sent to minister to Him, strengthen Him and protect Him and His parents, especially during the early years of His life. Angels spoke to Mary and told her about her conception and the birth of the Messiah.
The Angel spoke to Joseph and told him about taking Mary as his wife even after she was conceived divinely. The angel warned Joseph to leave Israel and go to Egypt by way of protection for the mother and child.
Undoubtedly, angelic manifestations in the form of physical appearances, dreams and visions were common occurrences as a means of communication between God and His chosen.
Angels were intricately involved in laying down the foundation for the future direction of the ministry of Jesus. Our Scripture reading above provides detailed information regarding the mission and ministry of the Messiah. At the end of the angelic visitation, there was no doubt in the heart and mind of Mary regarding her role in bringing the Messiah into the world.
“You will conceive and give birth to a Son.” The angel Gabriel, in delivering the message of God to Mary, made it very clear that she will have a son. The long awaited Messiah is about to make an appearance into the world through a human element. The infinite is making its appearance through the finite.
Mary wondered how this could ever happen seeing that she had no relation. The angel Gabriel explained to a young, confused and disturbed virgin that her conception was divinely orchestrated and that she was specially favored and selected for this grand privilege.
“And you will name Him Jesus” The name Jesus means Savior. He will save His people from the consequences of sin. Man will receive eternal life through the price Christ paid for man’s redemption through His atoning work on the Cross. Names in the Old Testament time usually reflect aspects of the nature and personality of the recipient, the environmental circumstances at the time and more so the intended function of the child.
Consequently, even God carefully chose the names of persons. In some cases, the Lord would change the name of a person to reflect a prophetic dimension as in the case of Abraham.
The angel Gabriel was very clear in his declaration and instruction regarding the Messiah. It is indicative of a well-organized plan of God and executed by His holy angels.
He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. Greatness in God resides not in man’s achievement but in his total and complete obedience to God, submission to the will of God.
Jesus need not seek greatness in achievements for He has already attained to that height, “being in the form of God, He thought it not robbery to be equal with God.”
His greatness lies in the fact that He was completely obedient to the Father. His obedience earned Him a unique title and place in the heart of the Father. He was called the Son of the most High God. Sonship, in Jesus' context was not generational but instead in His earthly life and ministry, He reclined entirely on dependence on the Father.
The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” There are several prophetic declarations made by prophets of the past concerning the establishment of the Davidic kingdom. The prophets spoke of its eternality, that it would be everlasting.
The form and shape of the eternality of the Davidic Kingdom found meaning and full expression in the words of angel Gabriel to Mary. The Messiah will secure its eternality. He will continue the Davidic Kingdom, He will reign over the nation of Israel forever, and to His Kingdom, there will be no end.
The Angel Gabriel also in his declaration to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist said that his son John will make ready a people prepared for the Lord (Luke 1:17).
John the Baptist will go before the Lord, preparing the hearts of the people, making them ready for the Messiah. He spoke of one who will come after him, who is the Lamb of God that will take away the sins of the world.
Angelic involvement in the life of Jesus confirms the fact that He has been approved by God and appropriate for man’s redemption.
Paul Mursalin from Guyana is a member of the International Board of Barnabas Fund
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