Spellbound

It was concerning this salvation that the prophets made careful search and investigation, and they prophesied about this gift which God would give you. 11 They tried to find out when the time would be and how it would come. This was the time to which Christ’s Spirit in them was pointing, in predicting the sufferings that Christ would have to endure and the glory that would follow. 12 God revealed to these prophets that their work was not for their own benefit, but for yours, as they spoke about those things which you have now heard from the messengers who announced the Good News by the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. These are things which even the angels would like to understand.

13 So then, have your minds ready for action. Keep alert and set your hope completely on the blessing which will be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14 Be obedient to God, and do not allow your lives to be shaped by those desires you had when you were still ignorant. 15 Instead, be holy in all that you do, just as God who called you is holy. 16 The scripture says, “Be holy because I am holy.”

17 You call him Father, when you pray to God, who judges all people by the same standard, according to what each one has done; so then, spend the rest of your lives here on earth in reverence for him. 18 For you know what was paid to set you free from the worthless manner of life handed down by your ancestors. It was not something that can be destroyed, such as silver or gold; 19 it was the costly sacrifice of Christ, who was like a lamb without defect or flaw. 20 He had been chosen by God before the creation of the world and was revealed in these last days for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from death and gave him glory; and so your faith and hope are fixed on God.  – 1 Peter 1:11-21

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Brenham Rose | Brenham, Texas | April 2020

One of my favorite verses of the Bible is Acts 1:10-11

As they strained to see Jesus rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them.11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”

I love this question because I am ready with the answer: “Because I’ve never seen anything like this before!” The angels, however, were not stunned by this. They were finally seeing Jesus returned to his proper place of glory and honor. They had spent 33 years staring down to the earth, wondering, What is God up to? This is most unusual! We’ve never seen anything like this before! It’s all a matter of perspective and understanding.

Angels long to look into the things of God on earth because they are heavenly beings, invisible (most of the time), powerful, and fully-devoted to doing the Father’s will. Those holy angels who did not follow Satan in the primordial rebellion are now “confirmed in their bliss.” They love and serve God without wavering. And they know how things ought to be.

Only for 33 years – from their perspective – things were not as they were supposed to be. Things  were quite upside down. Jesus, the Son of God, eternal, One with the Father and the Holy Spirit, was subjected to shameful treatment. He was humiliated and rejected. He did not receive the honor and glory he deserved. Things were not as they truly ought to be.

I wonder whether the angels were mesmerized by what they saw. Glimpses of Jesus’ true glory leaked out. Whether at the Transfiguration (Luke 9:26-36), or when Jesus stilled the storm at sea (Mark 4:35-41), or when Jesus turned water into wine (John 2:1-11), once in a while the majestic glory of God in the flesh manifested itself. For the fullness of the deity dwelt in Jesus in bodily form (cf. Colossians 2:9). Whenever the deity of Christ manifested itself I wonder if, humanly speaking, the angels thought, that’s more like it!

But they longed to watch the earthly ministry of Jesus in every moment. How was God going to rescue and redeem the lost and fallen world? How was Jesus going to fulfill all of the Old Testament prophecies? How will all this end? These are great mysteries. And they are worthy our consideration as well. As we consider these profound mysteries, we can also marvel at the grace of God. That will keep us spellbound for all eternity!

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