Thursday December 18th, 2014
It's Always Special When Angels Show Up
Note from Jesus
When you open your Bibles and you see the appearance of angels, know that the Father is up to something special in your world. So marvel at the message and the work of the angels in the story of My birth. At the same time, realize that those same heavenly messengers are still present in your world serving you. You see, angels are heaven's messengers, servants sent to help you in special ways to receive the salvation I came to bring:
The heavenly messengers are ... spirits and servants, sent out to minister to those who will certainly inherit salvation.
Verses to Live
One day Zacharias was chosen to perform his priestly duties in God's presence, according to the temple's normal schedule and routine. He had been selected from all the priests by the customary procedure of casting lots for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enter the sacred precincts of the temple. There he burned sweet incense, while outside a large crowd of people prayed. Suddenly Zacharias realized he was not alone: a messenger of the Lord was there with him. The messenger stood just to the right of the altar of incense. Zacharias was shocked and afraid, but the messenger reassured him.An angel, one of God's messengers, tells My mother, Mary, the most amazing news that she will have God's Son, Me, and carry Me in her womb.
Messenger:Zacharias, calm down! Don't be afraid!Zacharias:
Zacharias, your prayers have been heard. Your wife is going to have a son, and you will name him John. He will bring you great joy and happiness — and many will share your joy at John's birth. ...How can I be sure of what you're telling me? I am an old man, and my wife is far past the normal age for women to bear children. This is hard to believe!Messenger (sternly):I am Gabriel, the messenger who inhabits God's presence. I was sent here to talk with you and bring you this good news. Because you didn't believe my message, you will not be able to talk — not another word — until you experience the fulfillment of my words.(Luke 1:8-14; Luke 1:18-20)
Six months later in Nazareth, a city in the rural province of Galilee, the heavenly messenger Gabriel made another appearance. This time the messenger was sent by God to meet with a virgin named Mary, who was engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David himself. The messenger entered her home.God's messenger came in a vision to reassure Joseph not to abandon My mother in her pregnancy, but to walk beside her and raise Me as his own Son!
Messenger:Greetings! You are favored, and the Lord is with you! Among all women on the earth, you have been blessed.The heavenly messenger's words baffled Mary, and she wondered what type of greeting this was.
Messenger:Mary, don't be afraid. You have found favor with God. Listen, you are going to become pregnant. You will have a son, and you must name Him "Savior," or Jesus. Jesus will become the greatest among men. He will be known as the Son of the Highest God. God will give Him the throne of His ancestor David, and He will reign over the covenant family of Jacob forever.Mary:But I have never been with a man. How can this be possible?Messenger:The Holy Spirit will come upon you. The Most High will overshadow you. That's why this holy child will be known, as not just your son, but also as the Son of God. It sounds impossible, but listen — you know your relative Elizabeth has been unable to bear children and is now far too old to be a mother. Yet she has become pregnant, as God willed it. Yes, in three months, she will have a son. So the impossible is possible with God.Mary (deciding in her heart):Here I am, the Lord's humble servant. As you have said, let it be done to me.(Luke 1:26-38)
Joseph, because he was kind and upstanding and honorable, wanted to spare Mary shame. He did not wish to cause her more embarrassment than necessary.Angels, heaven's messengers, announce to the shepherds where to find Me, their Savior, the One bringing glory and grace to earth.
Now when Joseph had decided to act on his instincts, a messenger of the Lord came to him in a dream.
Messenger of the Lord:Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to wed Mary and bring her into your home and family as your wife. She did not sneak off and sleep with someone else — rather, she conceived the baby she now carries through the miraculous wonderworking of the Holy Spirit. She will have a son, and you will name Him Jesus, which means "the Lord saves," because this Jesus is the person who will save all of His people from sin.Joseph woke up from his dream and did exactly what the messenger had told him to do: he married Mary and brought her into his home as his wife.
Nearby, in the fields outside of Bethlehem, a group of shepherds were guarding their flocks from predators in the darkness of night. Suddenly a messenger of the Lord stood in front of them, and the darkness was replaced by a glorious light — the shining light of God's glory. They were terrified!God's messenger warns My human stepfather, Joseph, to remove Me from Bethlehem and get Me to safety to preserve My life from Herod's jealous and murderous rage.
Messenger:Don't be afraid! Listen! I bring good news, news of great joy, news that will affect all people everywhere. Today, in the city of David, a Liberator has been born for you! He is the promised Anointed One, the Supreme Authority! You will know you have found Him when you see a baby, wrapped in a blanket, lying in a feeding trough.At that moment, the first heavenly messenger was joined by thousands of other messengers — a vast heavenly choir. They praised God.
Heavenly Choir:To the highest heights of the universe, glory to God! And on earth, peace among all people who bring pleasure to God!As soon as the heavenly messengers disappeared into heaven, the shepherds were buzzing with conversation.
Shepherds:Let's rush down to Bethlehem right now! Let's see what's happening! Let's experience what the Lord has told us about!(Luke 2:8-15)
After the wise men left, a messenger of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream.
Messenger of the Lord (to Joseph):Get up, take the child and His mother, and head to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you it is safe to leave. For Herod understands that Jesus threatens him and all he stands for. He is planning to search for the child and kill Him. But you will be safe in Egypt.So Joseph got up in the middle of the night; he bundled up Mary and Jesus, and they left for Egypt.
Joseph, Mary, and Jesus stayed in Egypt until Herod died. This fulfilled yet another prophecy. The prophet Hosea once wrote, "Out of Egypt I called My Son."