15 May, 2021

Week 4: The Angels

by | 14 December, 2020 | 1 comment

By Stuart Powell

Note: This is the final installment of a four-week series of Communion meditations in which we consider essential features to the story of the birth of God’s Son. This week we focus on the angels.

Angels appeared six separate times in the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ birth and early childhood (Matthew 1:20-21; 2:13, 19-20; Luke 1:11-20, 26-38; 2:9-15). Luke tells us the angel Gabriel spoke to Zechariah and Mary. No names were mentioned in the other four visits. Most times a single angel appeared, which is how the encounter with the shepherds began. Yet after the message was delivered to the fearful shepherds, the gates of Heaven swung open and an army of God-praising angels invaded the Bethlehem hillside.

The years of waiting were over. God had not forgotten his messianic plan, and the angels announced that good news. Zechariah’s son would announce the Messiah’s arrival. Mary of Nazareth accepted the honor of carrying the baby. Joseph was the son of David who claimed Jesus as his own. The shepherds ignited the fire of God’s good news in Judea.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, we remember and celebrate the messages of hope the angels delivered. And when we gather around the Lord’s table, we remember and celebrate the fulfilled hope in the message other angels delivered three decades after Jesus’ was born:

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Then they remembered his words. When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others (Luke 24:1-9).

As we eat the bread and drink from the cup this week, let’s recall more than the baby in the manger. Listen again to the message of hope proclaimed at Jesus’ birth. And let’s also remember our Savior, who was crucified for our sins, justifying us before God. He was buried, yet he conquered death and rose from the grave, paving a pathway that we might enjoy eternal life with him in Heaven. That is good news of great joy for all people.

Stuart Powell lives outside of Terre Haute, Indiana, where he serves with the North Side Christian Church.

Image: Detail of The Infant Christ and Two Angels from the 1700s; courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

<a href="https://christianstandard.com/author/stuartpowell/" target="_self">Stuart Powell</a>

Stuart Powell

Stuart Powell lives outside of Terre Haute, Indiana, where he serves with the North Side Christian Church.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    When I participate in the Lord’s Supper or Communion and am remembering Jesus’ death and resurrection, this, in itself, testifies to the fact of his birth. As often as I eat or drink of this reflection his birth is also recognized. I don’t need to only have ONE day to recognize that he was born or one day to recognize that the died.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Articles

Stories

By taking these symbols of Jesus’ body and blood, we announce we believe there really was a Jesus, and he really did die for us and carried all our sins down to a grave . . .

Documentary Highlights Christian Response to Pandemics

Southeast Christian Church’s “Purpose in Pandemics” is a documentary that follows the response of the church to pandemics throughout history. The “Purpose in Pandemics” website also includes a study guide for small groups and individuals.

Used of God

I soaked up Sam Stone’s wit and wisdom during our lunches together. Afterward, I’d take notes about our conversations. After hearing of his passing, inspired by his wordsmithing, I felt compelled to share just a small part of his story.

Sam E. Stone: ‘He Tried to Speak the Truth in Love’

In memory and appreciation of our former editor, Sam E. Stone, who died early this week, we share this 2011 column from Christian Standard’s archives in which Sam discussed four Scripture verses significant to his life.

Elliott Library ‘Cornerstone’ Laid

Three Bibles of historical significance to Cincinnati Christian University were the first books place on the shelves during relocation of the George Mark Elliott Library.

The Death of Evil

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. saw in minority groups’ struggles for social equality in America a parallel with Israel’s bondage in Egypt. King envisioned God’s goodness would deliver the U.S. from the evil of segregation.

Mark Scott’s Greatest Kingdom Impact

Since I first enrolled at Ozark Christian College, Mark Scott has been my kingdom hero, and I’m not the only young preacher Mark has shaped. Over his 35 years at OCC, Mark has inspired generations of students.

‘Have We Plans for 1921?’

“All the Standard asks is the opportunity to serve, and it yearns to render in 1921 the greatest, finest, and best service of its history. . . .”

CCLF Concluding Strong First Year in Greater Cincinnati

In its first full year, the Christian Church Leadership Foundation has accomplished much to ensure Christian education and resources would continue to be available to people in the Greater Cincinnati area.

News Briefs for Dec. 9

Items from Timber Lake Christian Church (Moberly, Mo.), Choateville Christian Church (Frankfort, Ky.), Johnson University, and more.

My Counsel for Young Preachers

If I were counseling an aspiring young preacher fresh out of Bible college or seminary, champing at the bit to lead in the church, I would offer these three bits of advice.

My Memories of Marshall Leggett

By Ben Merold
As I think about Marshall Leggett, who passed away on March 2 at age 90, two personal experiences keep coming to my mind . . .

Powell Quintuplets Graduating from High School

When the Powell quintuplets were born in 2001, all of Kentucky celebrated, including Southeast Christian Church, where the Powells are longtime members. Now the quints are 18 and are all headed to the same university.

Reentry: It May Be Harder Than We Think

When the COVID-19 crisis eases, I anticipate that reentry is going to be harder than some people think. Churches, especially, need to prepare for this.

Help for a Fledgling Preacher

Twenty years or so after stepping down as editor of Christian Standard, Edwin Hayden penned this reminiscence of four gentlemen who had helped and encouraged him during his career: W.H. Book, P.H. Welshimer, Toyoza W. Nakarai, and W.R. Walker.

News Briefs for May 12

Briefs from Hickory Valley Christian Church in Chattanooga, Ozark Christian College, Visioneering Studios, Milligan University, and more.

Mary’s Testimony

Look through Mary’s eyes at the bread and the cup. Listen to Mary’s voice as you thank God for paying the price for our sins. This was Mary’s testimony about God’s Son: “Do whatever he tells you.”

Follow Us