“Jesus is our Peace, our Joy, our Strength and our Song!”
When the kids were in middle school, we took a trip to the “Big Apple” — New York City. We did the tourist things like see the Statue of Liberty, eat in China Town, go to the top of the Empire State Building, and see a couple of Broadway shows. We weren’t flying back until Monday because we wanted to go to the Brooklyn Tabernacle for church on Sunday. We were staying in Manhattan, so we got up early and caught the train from New York City to Brooklyn. We remarked that, for one of the busiest cities in America, it was pretty sleepy on Sunday. We got off at our stop and walked a few blocks to the church. It seemed very quiet — almost too quiet — and there wasn’t anyone around. We saw something that looked like a note on the church door, so we walked up to read it. It said: “Moved! New address is…” Suddenly, I felt the wind shift and I had an uneasy feeling. It felt like we were being watched and I knew that we probably needed to do something quickly. Suddenly, from around the corner, a woman appeared. “Can I help you?” she asked. I stated that we were here to go to church, but it looked like they had moved. She very calmly said: “Grab you children. There will be a bus coming in about two minutes across that street over there. The bus driver’s name will be Bob. He will take you where you need to go. You will take it to such and such street, get off there, and walk two blocks. Hurry, it’s going to be ok.”
I looked at Sean and the kids and said, “Let’s go!” I then turned back around to say thank you and the woman was gone! She had completely disappeared. I remembered her words: “Hurry now!” We grabbed the kids, ran across the two streets, and suddenly here came the bus she talked about, right on time! His name was Bob and we all hopped on quickly. We didn’t have the correct change, but he said, “Just get on, it’s ok.” As I recall, the bus was empty, and we were the only ones on it. He drove us to the exact street she mentioned. We got off, walked two blocks to church, and joined worship already in progress. So, was that a coincidence? Was the woman an angel sent to help us?
Angels are mentioned all throughout the Bible. In fact, angels are mentioned 273 times! Most angels in the Bible have the appearance and form of man. Some are larger than life, while some have wings. Others have multiple faces like that of a lion, ox, eagle, or a man. Some angels are bright, fiery, and shiny; others look like ordinary humans. Some angels are invisible, yet their presence is felt, and their voice is heard. Other names for angels are messengers, hosts, watchers, sons of the mighty, sons of God, and chariots of fire.
One of the best well known stories of angels is the Christmas Story of the shepherds, out in their fields, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
“And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which will be to all people.” – Luke 2:9-10
That night, the angels were sent by God to bring good news, announcing the birth of Jesus! The angels must have been something to behold, because the shepherds were told to not be afraid and they instantly went to find Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus in the manger.
Let’s look at what the Bible says about angels: (there are more scriptures than these so that is a good homework assignment for you this week)
- Angels were created by God
- “Thus, the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished.” – Genesis 2:1
- “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible”. – Colossians 1:16
- Angels are not meant to be worshiped
- “And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God!’” – Revelation 19:10
- Angels are subject to Christ.
- “Who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to him.” – 1 Peter 3:22
- Angels are spiritual beings.
- “And of the angels He says: ‘Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire.’” – Hebrews 1:7
- Some angels are called seraphim.
- We Swansons like these angels. They are tall and fiery, (each with six wings), and they can fly. They are found in the throne room worshiping God forever. See Isaiah 6:1-8.
- Angels were created to glorify and worship God the Father and God the Son.
- “Let all the angels of God worship Him.” – Hebrews 1:6
- Angels are too numerous to count.
- “The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands. – Psalm 68:17
- “You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly.” – Hebrews 12:22.
- Angels take an interest and are involved in human affairs.
- “Likewise I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” – Luke 15:10
Angels exist to serve God by blessing Him in worship and service, doing His word, heeding the voice of God, ministering on God’s behalf, and to do God’s pleasure. (Psalm 103:20-21)
There have been other instances in our life where angels have played a key role. It is comforting to know that we are not alone in our journey on this earth. As Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and wisemen were all visited by angels, we can rest in the fact that God is crazy about us and will go to great lengths to minister to us. (Hebrews 1:14) Are they (the angels) not all ministering spirits sent to minister to the heirs of salvation (that’s us!).
So, whatever you are going through this Christmas, know that the good news that the angels spoke about is for us! Jesus has come to bring us Good News of Great Joy for all people! Do not be afraid! Jesus is our Peace, our Joy, our Strength and our Song!