1999-12-09 - Gabriel
The Christmas Character's Series, Part 10
Luke 1:19-20 And the angel answered and said to him, "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God; and I have been sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news. (NAS)
Imagine that you are walking down the street alone or down a hallway in your home when you are suddenly confronted by a being of remarkable beauty and power. His commanding presence is so beyond anything that you have otherwise experienced that a fear, mixed with wonder and uncertainty are all you can feel. Your eyes would hardly be distracted by an explosion anywhere in the near vicinity. This majestic individual then speaks to you to add to the experience. His message is from God. You have just met Gabriel.
Over the millennia, Gabriel has been the messenger of God carrying important news to the faithful of the earth. Daniel was visited by Gabriel three times to give him interpretations to visions in answer to Daniel's prayers. Some of those revelations are still yet to come to pass. Gabriel was again dispatched to inform Zacharias that he and his wife would have a son long after it would be normally possible. This visit was in answer to their prayers, in God's time. And the most famous message of this faithful courier was to Mary, who was betrothed to Joseph. The most anxiously awaited words in history, the fulfillment of the promise of God's Messiah, were given to a young woman of amazing faith.
Luke 1:29-33 And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31 "And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32 "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end."(NAS)
We know very little about Gabriel, but we are given a few insights into him and other angels in his few appearances. When Daniel falls on his face, prostrate on the ground, Gabriel is quick to correct him to stand. He is holy in that he has never fallen from his original state in creation, but his is not to be worshipped. He is a created being just like us and worships God too. During the third visitation, Daniel asks why the answer was so long in coming. Gabriel explains that the demonic beings that spiritually rule over withstood him, they confronted him in battle. The archangel Michael had to come to Gabriel's aid. It would appear that at least some, if not all, angels are warriors
Gabriel has a keen sense of the holiness of God. When Zacharias met his proclamation with disbelief, Gabriel was permitted to strike Zacharias mute. His companions knew that something amazing had happened, but Zacharias could only write his experience to them. Gabriel's punishment of Zacharias had purpose as well. Zacharias' question was understandable in that he and his wife were apparently very old, well past child-bearing years. But Zacharias' unthinking response was filled with disbelief. If he had thought for one second, he would have measured the message and the messenger in front of him and realized the certain truth of what he was spoken. The inability to speak would be a lasting reminder to never speak hastily again and to respect the holy pronouncements of God.
Gabriel has a keen sense of discernment. Mary questioned Gabriel as well. Her question was understandable as well. She was a virgin and she was being told she would have a baby boy. This is not the way it normally happens. She was engaged to be married and thought she understood how this worked. But her question was an honest one from a faithful heart that wanted to know. The answer might help her to come to grips with what she was being told. There was little doubt that what she was being told was true, just how it would happen was the question. Mary was rewarded with the answer to her question.
There was an equally impossible situation for Mary as there was for Zacharias. Mary and Zacharias both believed. They were people of faith. Mary met her situation with humility and thought guided by her faith. I hope we all learn to see the wisdom of God in giving us two ears, two eyes and one mouth.
Lord Jesus - teach us to close our mouths, open our eyes and ears and think. Help us measure things with our faith and not by what we know because all things are possible with You. Thank You for the insights into angels we have from the times we see Gabriel. Thank You for the stunning pronouncement to Mary and her heart that responded in faith. Amen.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.