Tuesday March 28, 2023
HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’” The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.
And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”
The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
I have a long history with angels. By that, I don’t mean that I have angel posters and placards on my walls, or that I have experienced visitations of angels or visibly encountered spiritual beings.
What I mean is that I have a long history thinking about angels, considering angels, and seeking to understand how to even begin to think about spiritual beings. I believe that such a history, which predates me coming to faith in Jesus, was triggered by myriad spiritual experiences for which I had no explanation other than some mysterious powers at work.
In Colossians 2:18 we read: “Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind.” Angels are not supposed to be a central focus for the believer; Jesus is. But we are to be aware they are present and active on our behalf.
But Jesus spoke of angels, from the Greek word which means “messengers,” being about the Father’s work in the world. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to see what Jesus saw as he ministered to the people and preached the good news of Luke 4 to the individual and to the masses? Wouldn’t it have been startling to perceive the demonic at work in an almost visible way, or to perceive the angelic beings at work on behalf of the children (“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven” [Matt. 18:10])?
Jesus was not walking alone through this world. Yes, the Father and the Spirit were with him. Yes, his disciples were close by. Yes, Jesus had crowds following him. In Matthew 4:11, another passage about Jesus in the wild, we read that when Jesus’s testing was complete, the “angels came and attended him.”
You and I are surrounded by “a great cloud of witnesses” cheering us on and by angels attending us along our journey. Jesus was ministered to by angels, and so are we. With our singular focus on worshiping God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and our prayers directed to God without distraction, we can know that the Lord is sending angels, messengers, to encourage us along our journey home.
While the Bible encourages us not to focus on angelic or spiritual beings, we are told they exist and are at work in the world. Can you think of a circumstance where you felt like you were cared for in a way that went far beyond what you could have hoped for? What happened?
Lord of the Wild, there is joy in knowing that we are not alone on this journey. We are filled with you, present in us and with us. You’ve given us companions and the community of saints for encouragement. And there are also ministering angels attending to us all along the way. We bless you for caring for us so. In Jesus’s name, amen.
Songs for the Wilderness
First 15 through the season of Lent is adapted from Jesus in the Wild: Lessons of Calling for Life in the World available through Seedbed. If you or your small group are interested in using this resource for your Lenten study, you can find more information here or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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