“Then the devil left him, and angels came and began ministering to his needs” (Matt. 4:11, NET).
Have you ever imagined Jesus being in need of anything? Living in a human body, He was dependent on the ministry of angels. If the sinless Savior of the world was vulnerable enough to have need of these powerful agents from Heaven, how much more do you and I! The wonderful news is that God has amply provided us with this very thing: “Are they [the angels] not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” (Heb. 1:14, NKJV).
More often than not, we are not aware of the angels that are assigned to serve us. However, I believe we can learn something about their ministry from our verse today out of Matthew 4. Jesus, utterly spent, had just battled His way through a harrowing bout of spiritual warfare. The devil had taken advantage of His exhaustion after forty days of fasting to incite this vengeful attack.
(Can you relate to that? Have you, too, found that the enemy goes after you when you are at your lowest point? Indeed, the worst of our battles generally occur when we are at our weakest – whether that be emotionally, physically, spiritually, or a combination of the three.)
The devil assailed Jesus, knowing He had no remaining strength of His own after going six weeks without eating anything at all. Wielding the weapon of temptation, he cruelly targeted Jesus’ most vulnerable areas. Jesus clung to the Father and the Scriptures and made it through the vicious onslaught. The evil one, irate over yet another defeat, finally gave up and left.
In my mind’s eye, I see Jesus crumpled in a heap once His foe had departed. Sweat dried on His weary, sunburnt face; lips cracked from the desert heat, He had nothing whatsoever left to give. I imagine that He did not even have the strength to stagger back to civilization to seek nourishment and refuge.
That’s when the angels came. The Father sent them as ministers to restore life and vigor to His dearly beloved Son. We don’t know the details of their ministry, but clearly they transmitted both energy and encouragement to Him. They poured the provision of Heaven into His earthly frame.
In this picture of angels administering comfort and assistance to the Son of God, we find a practical application for our own lives. There are times when our trials, too, seem to have exacted from us our very last ounce of strength. We feel like we have trudged endlessly through a vast, merciless wilderness, enduring long days without any sustenance. Just when we have spent every last bit of our physical and emotional resources, our adversary initiates a ruthless assault against us. We cling to God with what feels like our very last breath…
And we make it through. After a prolonged struggle, our agitated foe finally capitulates and withdraws. That’s when the angels come. We often are unaware of their presence, but we feel the relief that they bring. Suddenly, the atmosphere around us shifts. The heaviness lifts off and blows away with the breeze from Heaven that gently caresses our face. Power from Above courses into our being and renews our strength. We rise again, ready to walk into a new day.
Here is the promise Daddy God holds out to you today: whatever adversity you are enduring, however relentless and painful it may feel, is temporary. It will not last. You will get through it. Relief is coming, dear one. Ministering angels are on their way!
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace… will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10, ESV).