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Ten Thousand Angels

by Paul Merideth

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

When I was a kid, my favorite church song was “Ten Thousand Angels.” As a young boy, I was enamored with the idea of God’s well-armed angelic army. I could imagine them sweeping upon the earth to destroy those tyrants who were arresting and crucifying Jesus. For me, it roused this aggressive idea of God using military force to accomplish his will, springing into action with a celestial rescue mission while killing the bad guys.

Thankfully, God has accomplished his will without requiring our destruction. Though, because of our sin, we deserved no pardon, he, nevertheless, poured out his mercy and grace for our forgiveness in the death of his son (Romans 5:15-21). In fact, the death of Jesus on the cross was the key part of God’s redemptive plan for humanity’s atonement (1 Peter 2:24; 3:18; Philippians 2:8; Colossians 2:13-14).

Even now I can vividly imagine, as Jesus was being arrested, mistreated, and crucified, the armies of heaven were watching with disgust. I envisage legions of angels with swords drawn, grimaces on their faces, on the edge of heaven just longing for the “go” signal to then descend and make right with supernatural force the terrible injustice they were seeing. I imagine this powerful army was leaning off the brink of heaven’s edge on their tiptoes just itching to crash down upon wicked humanity and rescue Jesus Christ from the villains. I can hear them muttering through gritted teeth, “He belongs on the throne of heaven and not on a human cross of shame.”

And then I imagine my Lord Jesus Christ giving them a gentle “no” nod and speaking these words: “Put your sword back into its place. 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 26:52-54).

Jesus remained faithful to the divine plan of our redemption that included his death, even though that involved horrible suffering and sacrifice on his part. He endured the cross because, for us to have eternal life, “it must be so.”

You see, it was really not the soldiers who held Jesus captive, as if he needed angels to come and rescue him. Rather, he was compelled to submit to those sinful men because of his love for us. He endured the humiliation, and though they struck him and they cursed him and mocked his holy name, he suffered everything for you and me.

-Paul Merideth lives in Jeffersontown, KY  He is the  Preaching and Teaching Minister @ Watterson Trail Church of Christ and a Professor at Louisville Bible College.

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I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33