We get a little gem at the end of our passage today that says, “Are not [angels] all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?” The apostle Peter enlarges on this thought. In 1 Peter 1, Peter is discussing the greatness of the of the gospel, and he says this:
10 Concerning this salvation [in Jesus], the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours [that is, of Christians] searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.” (1 Peter 1:10-14)
Things into which angels look. And their jaws drop. If we understand rightly who Christ is and what he has accomplished for us (those who are to inherit salvation!) it really should cause us to fall on our face in awe and thanksgiving. Because apparently, the work of Christ is so great and ineffable, that it even causes even the angels to sing, “What wondrous love is this?”
Friends, Christians are not people who have been “touched by an angel” or who have a sort of vague interest in spiritual things. They are people who have been touched by the wounds of our savior and made alive through the power of his resurrection.
The angels did not stoop down from heaven, but the Son did. The host of heaven acclaimed him at his Incarnation, served him in his Temptation, wondered at his Crucifixion, announced his Resurrection, and bore him back to heaven again to sit down at the right of God, having accomplished forgiveness of sins. Our forgiveness. Us lowly people. We inherited that salvation. At the center of the universe stands the Lord of heaven and earth, wrapped in our flesh and yet exalted to the throne. No creature could ever take his place, steal his glory, or be worthy of our worship.
In Jesus, these Christians had received a dear and irreplaceable a gift from God. But instead of taking off the wrapping paper and setting aside the box to adore the gift, they were busy, in their preoccupation with angels, twiddling around with the wrapper.
I can say nothing more here than Paul said in Philippians 2, the great hymn to Christ:
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.