There are two phrases I seldom give much thought to in Jesus’ wilderness temptation account:
“The devil… departed from Him until an opportune time.”
“The angels came and ministered to Him.”
The phrase “opportune time” makes me ask…
Throughout His three and a half years of ministry, did Satan come back and tempt Jesus multiple times, or was the opportune time the cross?
When Jesus says to Peter, “Get behind me Satan,” is He only speaking metaphorically to Peter, or is Satan actually present and trying to temp Jesus to divert Him from His mission through the influence of a close friend?
Not all temptation is from Satan directly (our flesh invites it), but nevertheless we must be aware that sin knocks on our door at “an opportune time.”
The phrase “angels came and ministered to Him” makes me ask:
How did they minister to Jesus?
How many angels were there?
Did angels minister to Jesus throughout His life?
While we don’t know the specific answers to these questions, there is certainly plenty of speculation.
Many believe the angels ministered to Jesus at this time by bringing Him food. He’s hungry. He’s in the desert where no food is available. He can’t perform a miracle and create his own food, for He’s just resisted the temptation of turning stones into bread. So knowing His need, the Father sends angels to attend to Jesus and bring Him food.
The Father sent manna from heaven to feed the children of Israel. Is that the same food the angels brought Jesus?
We see the precedent for this in 1 Kings 19:5-8, where an angel attends to Elijah, waking him to serve him a meal.
So food… but could the angels have ministered to Jesus in other ways? It would only take one angel to bring Him food. John spoke of angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man. Did they encourage and cheer Jesus on for resisting the Enemy? Did they minister to Him emotionally or spiritually?
One critical thing here is that the angels show up AFTER Satan leaves. Just as Jesus could have called down 10,000 angels to rescue Him from the cross, He also could have called on angelic armies to thwart the advances of the Enemy. He faced temptation, not with the assistance of warring angels, but instead by depending upon the Holy Spirit (just like we must).
Do angels still minister today? Do they minister to us? It’s amazing to think about the unseen and how our Father provides for and protects us. Oh, how great is the love the Father has lavished on us!
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