“An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.”
Luke 22:43 (NIV)
When we consider the intensity of the scene this text refers to we can well see the necessity for this activity to occur. Jesus was struggling with the coming horror of becoming sin for His people.
The thought of sin being laid on Him caused Him to be repulsed. So Jesus was praying and seeking help and the angel came and gave Him what He needed to continue on the path chosen by the Father.
This is the second time that Jesus has an angelic visitation. In Matthew 4:11 at the beginning of our Lord’s ministry, right after the temptations, we read that angels came and were ministering to Him. The champions of light and darkness wrestled for the hearts of people. By winning the victory Jesus was exhausted.
In 1 Kings 9:4-8 it is told that an angel came to depressed Elijah the prophet and ministered to him by way of food in order to prepare him for a long journey. In Daniel 3:25-28 we read of an angel coming to the three Hebrew men who were being executed by the king. The angel preserved the men alive and the king acknowledged the presence of God with the Hebrew men.
In Luke 16:22 we read that when the beggar Lazarus died angels came to him as he died and “carried” him into God’s eternal presence. Angels have a responsibility to people who die in Jesus. No Christian dies alone. Angels appear to strengthen and provide for them at such a significant moment.
We read the promise in Psalm 91:11,
“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” (NIV).
So as we read the Scriptures we see that there are a number of functions for angels with regard to the people of God.
If we are followers of Jesus we should believe that when we pray and ask for strength, angels will come and give us what we need for the day just as Jesus experienced in Gethsemane.
When Satan tempts us to evil we may be assured that angels will again come and help us resist what is wrong. We shall be protected from any evil forces that would lead us astray. And, ultimately, when we come to the end of our journey and prepare to enter the Lord’s presence, angels are there also in order to equip us for our journey.
It is remarkable to consider that angels are so busy assisting the people of God. We need to ask ourselves if we have experienced the blessing of a visit by an angel when praying or going through a difficult situation.
Have you suddenly discovered strength to continue going against the current of this life? Have you sensed you really can resist that sinful temptation? Are you finding the way easier when you look to the Lord for help?
If you cannot respond positively to these questions pray to the Lord for mercy and grace to help you in your times of need. God delights to draw alongside those who suffer. Come and experience His grace today.