Matthew 26:53 - (Jesus said) "Do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once send Me more than twelve legions of angels?"
When we think about the people involved in Jesus' arrest, suffering, and death, we often forget the invisible ones—the ones behind the scenes watching. But Jesus reminds us when He says to Peter at His arrest, "Do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once send Me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?" (Matthew 26:53-54)
Think of it. Twelve legions of angels, ready to be unleashed instantly at a single word from the Father. Roughly sixty thousand angels or more, every one of them eager, wishing, hoping to be allowed to intervene ... grieving, indignant as they saw what was being done to Jesus ... but all fully obedient to God's will, as difficult as it must have been to stand by.
It must be hard to be an angel. To know that you have the power to help, and yet have to stand by because God's will is being carried out in a slower, more terrible, and more glorious way than you could ever have imagined. To refrain from meddling, from taking over the life of someone else, even to make it better. To respect God-given free will, just as the Lord who made it does.
You may know this conflict if you are a parent, a teacher, a pastor or educator of any kind. Even for those of us who are not, there can be a terrible urge to rearrange our friends' lives for them—to "fix things for them"—because we "know better." And yet, without an invitation from the people themselves, or without a command from God, we cannot. We end up making things worse for the very people we love. How difficult it is!
Thank God that He is not under the same constraints. When He reaches into our lives to help and heal us, He does it right. He doesn't make things worse with His meddling. He knows when to respect the free will He created, and He knows when to respond to our cries for mercy. As He did in His best blessing to us—Jesus' life, suffering, death, and resurrection.
THE PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for caring for us in Your wisdom and mercy. Please keep us when we go through difficult times. Amen.
When has it been difficult for you to stand by and watch something happen without helping?
Have you ever been glad later that you didn't intervene—and if so, in what situation and why?
Has there been a time in your own life when you wanted God to intervene—and were later glad He didn't do what you wanted?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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