Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Guardian Angel

It's a wonderful life was a wonderful flick wasn't it? I think its probably impossible to have watched that movie and not fallen in love with Clarence. Clarence the guardian angel. Remember? He jumped in the river to distract Jim from committing suicide and then later he showed Jim what a wonderful life he had and Jim in classic form screams "I want to live again!" The movie climaxes for Clarence at the end when he receives his wings.

So, uh, where did the whole concept of guardian angels, bells, and wings come from anyway? Or should I even ask that question? Come on, it's common knowledge that people have guardian angels who like protect them and lead them to God. With something so Christian you would think we could find some scripture on it. Probably alot huh? Actually I could only find 4 passages that related maybe. So I sat down and looked at those passages and was pretty surprised at what I found. I want to share the most used passage specifically.

Matthew 18:10
"See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven."
Put cut and dry right? Well let's look at this because this seems pretty bizarre. Like anything we do, let's start at the beginning. It all starts with one simple question by the disciples to Jesus "who will be the greatest in the Kingdom?"

Jesus does not beat around the bush (rarely did). He picked up a kid and said that children are the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. So does that mean that adults won't be great? No! Because Jesus says that they need to become like children. Jesus wasn't saying that "children" per se were the greatest but those with the "attitude" of a child. What is this attitude? In verse 4 we find out that it is humility.

Remember where Jesus is. He is in Israel, the Messiah, ready to usher in the promised Kingdom, but yet the entire nation was in pride and sin. The Kingdom coming was contingent on their repentance in humility. "Blessed are the humble, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." (Matt. 5:3) Israel was hung up on the Kingdom and rightly so, but they wouldn't even be able to enter it because they had not become like a child. They had not humbled themselves.

Jesus after explaining the need for humility goes into a discorse on causing a child (a Jew who was humbly repentant before God) to sin. It would be an understatement to say that Jesus discouraged this. God was after the hearts of the Jews as the parable of the lost sheep that immediately follows illustrates for us. Jesus once said "how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing." (Matt. 23:37) God was after Israel desperately, but they wouldn't humble themselves before Him.

That brings us to our verse. What do I know? I see an interpretation that makes the most sense contextually, and it's that one that I feel the most comfortable on. The thing that Jesus is trying to communicate is that God will know if you are a stumbling block to a child (a Jew who is humbly repentant before God). A child is right in front of God's nose. Do you think they go unnoticed? Well, they don't. In fact, God loves His children so much that if just one was led astray, He would leave His 99 sheep in the fold to find it. Not one sheep escapes His notice.

Why would so desperately try to prove the existence of guardian angels? I'll tell you this: if we do have guardian angels, they don't want attention. Angels, everywhere in Scripture, hate attention. They are constantly giving it away to God. You know, ultimately, whether I have an angel or not, God is my guardian. I have a guardian God. Look at Paul. Don't you think God looked out for him? He will me as well. (Matt. 6:25-26)

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