Summary: A look at the role of angels, especially as they ministered to our Lord during His earthly life. Part of this sermon is in drama form.
The Day the Angels Wept
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT ANGELS? Not a lot, but we do know some things that the Bible teaches us about them. For example…
o There are a lot of them—millions, in fact
o They are very powerful—more so than us
o They are mighty warriors—like Michael (see Daniel and Revelation)
o They were created by God
o They sometimes take on human form
o They spend a great deal of time worshiping God
o They deliver messages—in fact, that’s what the word “angel” means—a messenger
o Some of them rebelled against God and were cast out of heaven—we call them evil spirits or demons or fallen angels
o They have a ministry of protection and deliverance among believers
o According to psalm 34:7, they encamp all around those who fear God and deliver them. This means that they “linger” and “keep vigilant watch” over us.
o They sometimes brought judgment to this earth at the command of the Lord, as in the case of Sodom and Gommorah.
Did you ever think about the role that angels played in the life and ministry of Jesus? It would take an entire book to spell out in detail how the life of Jesus was intertwined with the attending ministry of angels.
Let me share briefly some of the episodes from the New Testament.
1. To prepare for the birth of Christ, an angel appeared to Zacharias to inform him of that his wife would be the mother of John the Baptist, the cousin and forerunner of Jesus.
2. Gabriel, one of the mighty angels of God, announced to Mary that she would give birth to the Messiah.
3. A multitude of angels appeared to the Shepherds in the fields to announce His birth.
4. An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream three times: to tell him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife for she was with child of the Holy Spirit; to warn him to take the child Jesus to Egypt so that Herod would not kill Him; after the death of Herod, an angel told Joseph to return with his family to Israel.
5. Angels assisted Jesus when He was being tempted of the devil in the wilderness.
6. In the Garden of Gethsemane, an angel came and strengthened Jesus as He agonized over the cross that awaited Him.
7. Angels were poised at Calvary, just waiting for Jesus to give the word for them to deliver Him.
8. After our Lord’s resurrection, angels rolled back the stone in front of the tomb so that His disciples and the whole world could se that He was gone!
9. At Jesus’ ascension, angel’s appeared to those assembled and declared, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
10. And then, of course, angels will accompany Him as He returns one day to bring judgment and to usher in His glorious kingdom.
As Jesus was ascending back to His Father, He was escorted by the holy angels, to be seated at the Father’s right hand. Then even the morning stars ascribed honor, glory, and praise to Him as the Son of the Living God.
On the other hand, some angels remained behind to assure those early disciples that they would always be near---ready to help God’s people throughout the ages to come---until Christ returns in person.
With all of this as background, let’s use our imaginations for a few moments and picture a scene in heaven that could well have taken place on a special night long ago.
There was sorrow in heaven. Can you imagine that? Sorrow in heaven! It seemed strange to the angels who were given the task of carrying the messages for the Master from one end of heaven to the other. A report was out that Gabriel had those things called “tears” in his eyes. Something terrible must have happened to have caused it. The only other time tears were shed in heaven was back when the earth was first created and two humans fell prey to Lucifer. It broke the Master’s heart.
The conclusion was that Gabriel’s tears must have something to do with those beings on earth. A rumor was spreading throughout the Crystal Sea that the Lord Himself was going down to earth to live among them. It was hard to believe but was confirmed by Gabriel. The Master was going to leave the Ivory Palaces and the Rainbow Throne and take up residence on that rebellious planet.
Confused angels began to ask the question that crossed everyone’s mind. “What will He do down there? The answer given by the archangel was, “He’s going to be born.” The angels answered, “Born? What’s born?” Gabriel: “I don’t know; it’s something that happens to earth creatures.”