Longing to Look Into These Things
Those heavenly hosts seen in the Bethlehem skies at the birth of Christ '“ what did they really understand about it all? Speaking of salvation Peter said 'Even angels long to look into these things.' (1.1:12). The Greek word suggests great spirits '˜bending over' to see. The picture is of angels gazing over the manger amazed, wondering what their Lord and King was doing there.
My thoughts have been with the Christmas angels. They belonged to heaven and were there when the Son of God left and they accompanied Him. What was heaven like when He had gone? They saw Him open the door and step out into the sinful murk of a world scented with hate and greed. Scripture describes Christ's nativity in terms of unmatched sacrifice, of God's loss. His loss would be heaven's loss also.
But speaking of angels, in Scripture God never sent an angel with a Gospel proclamation. The closest was the Annunciation. Gabriel the archangel declared Mary would have a son and His name would be Jesus, 'because he will save his people from their sins.' Matt.1:21.
Nevertheless, wouldn't they do the job of evangelism better than us, being such impressive personalities, '˜greater in power and might' than any mortal? (Psalm 103:20, 2 Peter 1:11). If Gabriel led a host of dread celestial powers to descend on our cities wouldn't he soon compel the world to receive the Gospel? Five hundred times they are mentioned in Scripture, often as bringing messages. So couldn't they come with the Gospel?
The answer is no '“ for very good reasons which we will look at further along, but the fact is that God has always called earthlings to spread the word, not heavenly intelligences. 'The LORD announced the Word and great was the company of those who proclaimed it. In front are the singers, after them the musicians. With them are the maidens playing tambourines. Praise God in the great congregation. There is the little tribe of Benjamin leading them, there the great throng of Judah's princes and of Zebulun and Naphtali.' Proclaimers. Those are the servants God depends upon. I like the wide variety but equality of the proclamation, from young girls with tambourines to princes. It certainly implies that carrying the Word is a responsibility to be taken very seriously.
Now it is Christmas and that day itself spells out even more clearly, in global, even cosmic language, that the Word is for the whole world. What a word it is! God the Son breaking into human affairs! It eclipses all news, and is something to be talked about, everywhere for ever.