This month at South Side we are doing a series entitled “The Cast Of Christmas” where each week we look at a specific cast member in the Christmas story. Last week we looked at the prophets and how they foretold and waited for the Messiah with expectation. This week we are going to take a look at the angels in the Christmas story.
Have you ever wondered what the Christmas story was like from the perspective of the angels? They must have such an interesting perspective. They see God and they see us, but we cannot see them. While they as spiritual beings do God’s will, they do not know everything that God knows. They are a little more like us in that regard. The final phrase of 1 Peter 1:12 intrigues me. It reads, “angels long to catch a glimpse of these things,” while describing how the Old Testament prophets carefully searched for the time and circumstances of the coming Messiah’s suffering and coming glories. These prophets, Peter writes, were serving us as modern readers of the Bible and not themselves. Angels, then, were fascinated by the future-focused nature of the prophets’ work.
I would have to say that Gabriel is my favorite angel. Though Gabriel does not bear the title of archangel, meaning “chief angel” like the archangel Michael, I just love his role in the plan of God. Of the Bible’s many instances in which angels deliver messages, Gabriel is named specifically in Daniel 8, Daniel 9, and Luke 1, but it’s possible he was the messenger in other passages as well. He speaks to God’s prophet Daniel in the Old Testament and then speaks to Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the New Testament. According to the Bible, Gabriel stands in the presence of God and brings people good news (Luke 1:19). He appears as a man in Daniel 8:15–16, and 9:21, and stands by the altar as a man would in Luke 1:11.
Now we do know that Angels are not all-knowing. We can gather that from 1 Peter 1:12. God does, however, give angels messages regarding some future events. For example, in his first appearance in Scripture, Gabriel appears to Daniel in Daniel 8:15–27, having been dispatched by God to bring an explanation of the vision in Daniel 8:1–14. Then, when Gabriel gave the astounding news to the aged Zechariah that he and his mature wife would be having a baby and that the baby would be given the non-family name of “John,” he was making a prophecy of a future event. When he gave Mary the incredible news of Jesus’ coming birth, he was making yet another prophecy. Gabriel himself was not the source of these prophecies. God was and is. Gabriel was God’s blessed messenger. It is Gabriel’s voice that first spoke the name millennia of Old Testament prophets and believers ached to know: the blessed name of Jesus. As he carried God’s message to Zechariah, he carried the answer to a huge question asked by the book of Malachi. As he carried God’s message to Mary, he carried the answer to the world’s need for our Savior. If I were Gabriel, I would have been bursting at the seams to break the good news!
Here is the thing, though: the news is just as heavenly, just as prophetically significant, and just as amazing today as it was when Gabriel first spoke it. My friends, we have the same good news to share with our fellow man this Christmas that Gabriel had at the first Christmas. The word “evangelism” even comes from the Greek word for “good news.”
This Christmas we should be excited to share God’s heavenly news, and invite God’s heavenly will to be done here on this broken earth. We must not sit on this good news and forget how many generations of Old Testament believers ached to know the Messiah’s name and how many prophets strived to know the Christ’s timing. We must move with the speed of Gabriel to proclaim the good news! We do not have to imagine what it was like for Gabriel. We who believe in Jesus know already. To know that the Savior of the world has come, to know His name, and to have been filled with His Spirit is to fulfill the very purpose of God’s message through Gabriel. If ever there has been a time to share it the time is now!
This Sunday at South Side we will unpack further how the angels impact us today. Childcare and age specific classes are available for all ages of children. Be sure to come early and enjoy a fresh cup of coffee and snack at Café Connect. Elevate Worship begins at 10:45, and we hope to see you there!
South Side Church Of Christ