This weekend, Christians the world over remember Jesus’ betrayal, trial, the false testimonies against him, his torture, death, burial, and especially his resurrection.
I was reading Matthew’s account of the betrayal and arrest in the Garden of Gesthemane in Chapter 26. Verse 53 jumped out at me.
Warrior Angels Awaiting Jesus’ Request
Jesus is in the garden praying, and his betrayer leads the temple guards to him. One of Jesus’ disciples pulls a weapon and attacks the guards, injuring one. Jesus stops the acts of violence and says this:
“Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?”
Twelve legions of angels.
A Roman legion can range from 5000 to 6000 soldiers, plus support staff and camp followers. In one sense, Jesus was declaring he could ask the Father for help, and the Father would send up to 72,000 angels to defend him.
In another sense, Jesus’ use of 12 can be viewed as symbolic. Biblically, twelve symbolizes God’s government. The entire host of Heaven was awaiting God’s command to rescue their Lord.
A few years before this event, Jesus already had angels minister to him in his time of greatest trial to that point, after his wilderness trial with the devil.
Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. Matthew 4:11 ESV
This principle is reflected in Psalm 91, which is a plea for God to help during a great trial.
Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge— no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. Psalm 91:9-11 ESV
I have found this passage and the principle Jesus mentions very comforting. You are not in this life alone. You are not battling the forces of darkness alone. When your world is collapsing, God has aid available to you.
God’s angels are ready to assist. If you are a Follower of Jesus and in Christ by faith, you can appeal to the Father to send angelic assistance. And God will. They will minister comfort. They may fight your battles for you.
He let loose on them his burning anger, wrath, indignation, and distress,
a company of destroying angels. Psalm 78:49
During that Easter weekend, when Jesus was crucified and rose again, no doubt a company of destroying angels were ready to attack Jesus’ enemies. He held off, knowing they’d be released at another time, following Him into battle on a white horse.
If you are going through a difficult time, ask the Father to send angelic assistance. You have that authority, resting in Jesus who now sits at the right hand of the Father.
Reflecting on Jesus’ Restraint
As I reflect on Jesus’ trial, torture, and death, I marvel at his restraint. He could have called down assistance to save him from his suffering to wreck vengeance on those who were hurting him.
Instead, he chose the Cross. He chose to forgive.
He even advocated to the Father to forgive those who were hurting him.
Jesus had some goals to accomplish when he left the Heaven to come to Planet Earth as a human. And he accomplished all of them. The Cross was a success.
He chose the Cross, to die as you. So you can choose the Cross, and live as Him.