Angels don’t feature in our lives much these days. Yet the whole Bible is shot through with angelic appearances. There is no doubt that for thousands of years people saw angels. They were (and are) spiritual creatures who are servants of the Most High. They were ministering spirits (Hebrews 1:14) who were sent to look after God’s people. Each child has a guardian angel (Matthew 18:10). Jesus was ministered to by angels both after his Wilderness temptations and in his final test in the Garden of Gethsemane.
In our story of the resurrection of Jesus the angel(s) fulfilled their main task which was to be a messenger. The angel told the women that they should go to the disciples and tell them to go and meet the risen Jesus in Galilee. The word ‘angel’ literally means ‘messenger’.
Our faith is sorely reduced if we rob ourselves of a belief in angels.
We may not see them nor hear them but they are around us. Myriads of angels are sent by God to minister to us. Sometimes angels are entertained by us ‘unawares’ (Hebrews 13:2); they may come in the form of a stranger or visitor.
To the women at the tomb “his appearance was like lightening, and his raiment white as snow” (v.3). Even the hardened and unbelieving soldiers were scared stiff. Maybe they didn’t even know what they saw or felt. But the women saw and heard. The angel proved to be a source of encouragement and guidance.
Lord, I may never see an angel but I believe that these wonderful spiritual creatures are around me, to guide and protect. Thank you for them. Amen.
“So they took the money and did as they were directed;” (v.15) RSV
Nothing will rob us of Easter Joy more than the love of money. So many people have ruined their souls by letting money dominate their ethics. Judas Iscariot sold his soul for 30 pieces of silver. Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of food (Genesis 25:32-33). Poor people do it out of desperation, and rich people do it out of greed.
We know well the quote, “The love of money is the root of all (kinds of) evils” (1 Timothy 6:10). It is the ‘love’ of money rather than money itself that is the problem. Many a godly soul has had a lot of money, but it can so easily distract us from ‘love’ of God, and ‘love’ of our neighbour. Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:23).
The soldiers who fell asleep outside the tomb that they were meant to be guarding were only too happy not only to be excused for their failure (rather than be executed!), but also to be paid for their troubles. They could always say: ‘Our rulers told us to do so.” How often do we blame others when in fact we are only too happy to earn a back-hander? How many dictators, bankers, drug dealers, and so forth can justify the huge amount of money they get by passing the buck onto others?
Mammon is more than money; it is better expressed by ‘materialism’: power, possessions and pleasure. Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant.
Lord, may I be kept free from the love of money. Thank you that I can learn to be content with what I have. Make me want to love you and my neighbours more than Mammon. Amen.