1 Timothy 3:16 "By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world,
Taken up in glory."
Today we will consider two ways in which angels point us to Jesus Christ, with two other ways being mentioned in tomorrow's post. Angels aid us in focusing more on Jesus in the following ways:
Angels point to Jesus as He lived and died
Jesus certainly illustrated the point of angelic assistance in the believer's life by how angels aided Him in His humanity. Matthew 4:11 "Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him." As Jesus was praying in Gethsemane we read in Luke 22:43 "Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him." Jesus chose to forego angelic aid in Matthew 26:53 "Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?" The numerous appearances of angels throughout Jesus' earthly ministry point to the glory of His incarnation. He was virgin born, lived and died as God in human flesh. (John 1:14; Colossians 2:9) When one reads the Gospel accounts of Christ's resurrection and ascension, angels are seen in those episodes as well. Inasmuch as we are witnessing a sequence of historical, literal events, we must include the reality of angelic beings.
Angels point to Jesus in His literal resurrection
The events of the empty tomb, Jesus' post-resurrection appearances and the cause for the disciple's belief in the resurrection stand in the mind of scholar William Lane Craig as being the three chief events needing to be explained. Certainly I concur with him and would like to add one further detail - the presence of angels. What were the angels achieving as they ministered the glory of Christ's resurrected power to the Apostles?
Matthew 28:3-4 "And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men." When we look at this detail, it is significant for a number of reasons. First, the women were already on their way to finish the anointing process of Jesus' body in Matthew 28:1. Second, this detail mentioned by Matthew in 28:3-4 reminds the reader of the manifest impossibility of anyone coming to steal the body of Jesus, since the enemies of Jesus had arranged the tomb to be guarded in Matthew 27:62-66. But now when we realize that the presence of angels led to the collapse of the soldiers, it is apparent that the angels were sent to defend, to protect the women and those who would be peering into the empty tomb. Passages such as 2 Kings 6; Psalm 34:7; 91:11 and Hebrews 1:14 remind us of how angels defend or protect God's people.
We read in Matthew 28:5-7 "The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. 6 He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. 7 Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”