“Then the devil left him, and angels came and began ministering to his needs” (Matt. 4:11, NET).
Living in a human body, Jesus was dependent on the ministry of angels. If the sinless Savior of the world was vulnerable enough to need this, how much more do you and I! The wonderful news is that God has 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 our needs. However, I believe we can learn something about their ministry from our Scripture 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 attack.
(Can you relate to that? Have you, too, found that the enemy comes 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 specifically pushed into Jesus’ most vulnerable areas. Jesus clung to the Father and the Scriptures and made it through the vicious onslaught. The evil one, irate that he had lost once again, finally gave up and departed.
In my mind’s eye, I see Jesus crumpled in a heap, once His foe had gone. Sweat dried on His 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 find nourishment and a bed to collapse into.
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 interminable. We feel like we have trudged endlessly through a vast, merciless wilderness without any sustenance. Just when we have spent every last ounce of our strength, our adversary initiates a ruthless assault against us. We cling to God with what feels like our very last breath…
And 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. The resources from Above course into our being and renew our strength. We rise again, ready to walk into a new day.
Here is the promise, precious child: whatever adversity you are enduring today, 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).