Were you ever selected by a teacher to deliver an important message to another teacher or even the principal? Remember how important you felt? I teach a bunch of teenagers and they still get excited about delivering messages. Have you ever had something important that you needed delivered? Who did you trust to deliver your message? I am willing to bet that it wasn’t my wife. Jan is absolutely AWFUL about delivering messages to me from other people. She’s terrible. Now before you go run telling her what I said, she knows. In fact she usually previews these posts, especially the ones that include her. My poor wife will come home, listen to a message on the answering machine, erase it, and never tell me. It has gotten so bad, that my mother-in-law will leave me a message and say, “Now, Jan make sure that Keith hears this message.” She knows that if she doesn’t tell her that, I will never get the message. It kind of explains why I seem to be the last person in our family to know things. Thankfully, God chooses His messengers wisely. He always sends the right messenger for the occasion. Announcing the birth of Jesus was no exception. This message had to be delivered by the best, the best God had at His disposal. This message had to be delivered by Gabriel.
Gabriel, the angel, the one sent to carry THE message. The first thing you need to understand about Gabriel is his importance. There are only two angels whose importance in the scriptures are so great, that they are called by name, Gabriel and the archangel Michael. The second thing you need to understand about Gabriel and every other angel of God, is that they were not the cute little fairy looking things that modern culture portrays. God’s angels, God’s messengers, God’s warriors were fierce and strong. Capable of taking out cities and holding back armies. These guys meant business when they showed up and you better believe that when Gabriel arrived with a message, it was going to be life altering. We see this ferocity of appearance practically every time the angels appeared to man in scripture. In fact, the angels began all encounters with these mortals the same way, saying, “Don’t be afraid.” Now this is obviously easier said than done. Angels appearing to humans, even in the Bible was not a natural event. In fact, as I write this, I am in my office and everyone else is asleep. It is dark in the hallway and you better believe that if an angel appeared out of nowhere in my office with me, I would respond with the same hair raising, white knuckle fear they probably reacted with. This appearance really speaks to God’s intent for the message. Trust me, if God sends an angel to tell you something, you will pay attention. This is obviously the case when Gabriel appeared to both Zechariah and Mary to tell them about the upcoming birth of their sons and the importance they will hold. The physical appearance of Gabriel signified that this was no ordinary announcement.
Aside from the physical intimidation of having a messenger of the God standing in front of you, you also had an angel who was very serious about his work. God had messages to deliver and He wanted the implications of theses messages to hit their mark. To sum it up, when Gabriel delivered a message, He meant business. If there were any doubts about this, you only need to look at the account in Luke 1 when Gabriel visits Zechariah. Zechariah, despite being scared to death by this angel, an experience you are sure to not soon forget, still could not believe the news delivered by Gabriel. The angel of the Lord had just informed an old man that he and his elderly, barren wife would have a son and he would usher in the King of the Jews. I realize that this is a lot to swallow at once, especially after being startled by a heavenly being who could rip your head off of your shoulders, but this was not enough proof for Zechariah. He wanted a sign, he wanted to know that his cheese had not slid off of his cracker. He wanted to be sure he wasn’t crazy. Well disbelief will be disciplined and sometimes you should be careful what you ask for. Gabriel tells Zechariah in verse 20, “behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” Gabriel is not messing around here. He effectively told Zechariah that his presence should be proof enough, but since it wasn’t, he would remain mute until the prophesy was fulfilled. It is not only his physical appearance that made an impact, but the diligence that Gabriel executed his mission. This all points to an obedient servant, serving a benevolent God.
Whether he is seen in the form of a man when he appeared to Daniel to help him understand things, or seen as a heavenly being with the glory of God showing all about him, Gabriel is a integral part of the story of Christ. There is a lot we can learn from Gabriel. As God’s messengers, he has entrusted us with the greatest news of all, the love of Jesus Christ and the opportunity of salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ. We were selected to deliver this message. It was trusted to us. What are we doing with that message? Have we been as diligent in our dispatch as Gabriel? God has called His warriors, His saints to do a mighty work and we, as Christians, need to be about that work. Statistics show that 90% of Christians have never led a person to Christ. Unfortunately, the biggest reason that stat exists is that many, no most of those that make up the 90% have also never tried to bring someone to Christ. So, I challenge you to get out and be about the work of the Kingdom. Take this time of year to tell someone about the birth of the savior of man and let that conversation about the manger, lead you to a conversation about the cross. What are you waiting for? Don’t be afraid.
In Christ Alone,
Rev. Bro. Coach