(Lent 1A Matthew 4:1-11)
"If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is
written, 'He will command his angels concerning you,' and 'On their hands they will bear
you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.'"
(Matthew 4:6, NRSV)
Satan speaks to Jesus, tempts Jesus, and I wonder, where were the angels? We know they could not have been far away, for soon they would arrive to wait upon Jesus, the trials of this temptation over and behind him, the forty days of mind-altering fasting behind him.
Was it hard to stand by and do nothing?
I have a 12-year-old daughter, and when I listen to her talking about the world in which she travels, the world of Japanese comics about boys who kiss each other and the girls who like to read them, of trying to define "emo," of 7th graders who declare they are bisexual and of pink fuzzy handcuffs for sale at the 7-11 in honor of Valentine's Day, I would love to swoop in and "save" her from facing the challenges. After all, she is my special child, my baby, and I want to protect her. I want to preserve her from harm. I want to set her on a high mountain top where nothing will soil her.
Does that make me a frustrated angel? Or am I the one with the real tempter's power, the one who can say to her, "Oh, the world! Never mind about the world! Come away with me and separate yourself from the struggles and questions!"
Real angels sit by and wait. They watch and see. They smile when the challenges are met, and then they wing their way in to restore the soul from its battle. They do not interfere before the time is right.
Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him. (Matthew 4:11)