Angels on Assignment: Matthew 4:11
Angels on Assignment: Matthew 4:11
“11) Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.” Matthew 4:11
After His temptations were complete, according to this verse two things happened to Jesus. First, the devil left Him. The New Testament principle is that when we resist the devil firm in our faith, he must flee. Take a moment and review James 4:7 and 1 Peter 5:9. The same promise holds true for you and me.
But second, the text says that angels came and began to minister to Him. I used to skip over this phrase, thinking thatJesus received special treatment. But that is not in keeping with the testimony of Scripture.
This might stretch you, but I have come to the conclusion that apart from His identity, nothing unique happened in the life of Jesus during His incarnation to give Him an unfair advantage over you and me. He lived under the same trials and suffering that we endure in this fallen world and had the same spiritual graces made available to Him. In other words, He lived by the same rules that govern our lives in this world.
So the obvious question then is; “Does Scripture teach that angels are on assignment in this present world to minister to Christians as they did to Jesus?” Surprisingly, the answer is “Yes!” Let’s quickly survey the New Testament with this question in mind.
The word “angel” or “angels” appears well over 150 times in the New Testament. It appears 21 times in the book of Acts. There are seven separate occasions that angels helped or ministered to believers in the book of Acts. More from the book of Acts in a moment.
First, I want to point out that Colossians 2:18 warns us not to worship angels. They are silent servants of God and do not attract attention to themselves.
But Hebrews 1:14 connects angelic activity toward believers directly to the description of them ministering to Jesus in Matthew 4:11. This verse says, “14) Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation.” Isn’t that profound? Part of their duty is to minister to believers in a way similar to what they did for Jesus.
But often they are unseen or unnoticed. Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Some may walk among us and appear to be ordinary people. Notice, they are “strangers.” They do not set up residence or have long term interaction with people. They appear for a short moment of time and then are suddenly gone. They do not establish ongoing or sustained relationships with people.
My theology and life experience includes angelic intervention. I do not pray to them, but I often ask God to surround my home, family, travel and ministry with angelic protection and provision. I have had numerous supernatural deliverances from danger that I attribute to angelic intervention.
I fully acknowledge the mystery of Gods providence over life and death. In Acts 12:2 James the brother of John was put to death with the sword. In the same chapter, Peter was arrested and sentenced to the same fate, but Acts 12:7-11 describes how an angel supernaturally delivered him from four squads of soldiers and set him free from his shackles in prison. It was a supernatural deliverance from death. Angels work to carry out Gods sovereign will.
Again in the same chapter, Acts 12:23 credits an angel with carrying out Divine judgement on Herod, and struck him and killed him. Angels are often pictured with a sword in Scripture. (Numbers 22:22-23; Joshua 5:13)
Later in Acts 27:23, Paul described how an angel appeared to him in the night and encouraged and strengthened him. Sometimes God sends His angelic servants to encourage and strengthen weary believers.
We could devote more space to this subject, but sufficient at this time to point out that Gods angelic servants are on silent duty for for you and me just as they were for Jesus. It is a mystery, but the Bible pictures angels and the Holy Spirit working in tandem in the life of believers.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global