We have no trouble understanding that there are light waves all around us that our eyes can’t see, sounds only a dog can hear, and that all of the radio waves and electronic signals going to our devices and phones are all around us, unseen.
But we don’t like to think about being surrounded by spirits. Not the ghosts of the dead. Scripture says that they are not roaming on earth but at Home with Christ or being held in torment to join Satan in the pit on Judgment Day. Not dead humans but spirits…angels…who are very much alive though not in the sense we understand. They are spirits created to serve.
JESUS bested the devil in the wilderness, refusing to serve Satan and ordering him to get gone. And Satan, being nothing more than a rebellious angel who had refused to serve but demanded service, had no choice but to flee the Presence of GOD the Son when told.
And immediately upon Satan leaving, angels came to minister to JESUS. The sense of the Greek word is that the angels had been standing by watching but could not approach until the results of this struggle the Holy Spirit had led JESUS to have with Satan was through. They were like those encircling a boxing ring, ready with water and towels to care for Christ after He knocked the devil out of the ring.
The word used for the angels caring for JESUS is the word churches get the word “deacon” from. It literally means food server. That’s how the role of deacons was started by literally serving food to widows who had no one else to provide food for them. And it may mean that the angels literally served food to JESUS after He had gone without food at least 40 days when tested by Satan. JESUS said He came to serve, not to be served. And that was a sort of pun since He not only served others by washing the feet of the disciples at the Last Supper but served them food, the bread and wine, at table. And, of course, JESUS served others through healing them and ultimately through providing His own Life for them (and us) as our Substitute on the Cross.
We are called to serve. As that famous theologian, folk singer Bob Dylan said, “Ya gotta serve somebody.” Angels were created to serve us by obeying GOD but some have fallen into serving angels by praying to them and focusing on them. Refusing to serve JESUS has you serving Satan by default.
Some believe in Guardian Angels but use texts that Satan applies to JESUS, not to humans. And Paul speaks of serving angels not as angels but having served what we thought were humans but were angels on a mission…perhaps to report on us. And when Elijah is fed it is in service to GOD’s orders not Elijah’s.
When Peter is freed by an angel from prison it’s not in service to Peter but of the Holy Spirit Who has a mission to do with Peter. And, unable to believe it’s really Peter at the door, they believe it’s his angel. Was this good theology? Did they mean ghost? We don’t know but JESUS tells us little ones have angels in the Presence of GOD. I think the case could be made that we have a placeholder in Heaven reserved for us for the time we arrive Home after having accepted what Christ has done to give us eternal Life. Angels may stand in our place until we get there through the Blood of JESUS. But angels always serve GOD and we are the object of the service or simply bystanders like birds in the trees as angels work on behalf of GOD to do His Will.
Angels comforted Christ by service and our souls are meant, born of the Holy Spirit, to serve Christ as well by blessing others by word by physical need and by Spiritual and physical strength. We are to be serving spirits serving other humans in the power of the Holy Spirit in love of JESUS and so they may come to know and serve Him by serving others themselves.
“Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.”
Matthew 4:11 ESV