Gabriel the Christmas Angel
Dr. Stephen Johnson
Luke 1:26-33
December 22, 2019

Two angels of light are mentioned in scripture.
Michael - the great archangel who always seems to be fighting. Protecting the people of God and ultimately prevailing against the angels of darkness.

The other is Gabriel - the mighty one of God.
The Christmas angel.

Gabriel spoken of 4 times in scripture Daniel 8 & 9

Gabriel is the glorious angel who interprets the visions Daniel had during the reign of Cyrus and Belshazzar.

And then 500 years later it is the angel Gabriel who comes to speak to Mary announcing the birth of Jesus.

Although other angels speak to individuals in scripture:
Angles spoke to Abraham, Hagar, Jacob, Joshua, and others, only Gabriel is identified by name as speaking with mankind.

If angels were inclined to envy, I am certain all the heavenly host would envy Gabriel.

He got to walk and talk among men and announce the coming of significant events in the redemption of mankind.

Peter tells us that angels long to look into the salvation of mankind - and Gabriel got to announce it not only to Daniel, but to Mary and to Zechariah.
I Peter 1:12

Jesus tells us, in the midst of the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son - the prodigal son, that “there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:10

And Gabriel got to bring the message of the coming of our savior!

I Corinthians tells us that angels watch over mankind because they maintain a strong interest in us.

And Gabriel got to talk to key figures in the redemption story of mankind.

And in Matthew 18 Jesus strongly implies that children have angels specifically assigned to watch over them.

And Gabriel announced the birth of the most precious child - Jesus.
So what can we learn from Gabriel?

Gabriel has three qualities which are worth remembering and emulating.

Gabriel understood God’s will and did it

Unlike God himself, angels are localized.
They are not omnipresent.
They are sent where ever God desires.

Notice that our text tells us that the angel Gabriel was sent by God - twice!

In Luke 1:19, in the midst of Zechariah arguing with him about the ability of his wife to have a child, Gabriel says this; “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you good news.”

So picture this. The angel Gabriel is standing in the presence of God when he is told to go to Jerusalem to argue with a priest.

To communicate to the priest something the priest simply couldn’t believe.
I don’t know about you, but once I get to be in the presence of our Lord, I think I’m going to want to stay there!

But disobeying God is not an option for Gabriel.

He didn’t stop to argue with God that perhaps there was a better candidate to choose to have a child than an old couple who had long since given up the hope of children.

God told him to go, so he went.

He understood God’s will and did it.

Six months later Gabriel is sent to another city in Israel. The city of Nazareth.

There to tell someone on the other end of the age spectrum that she was going to have a child.

First an old couple beyond child bearing age.
Then a young girl not yet married.

It seems as though Gabriel was tasked with messages which were as likely as not going to be met with resistence.

And both Zechariah and Mary were filled with fear when they first saw Gabriel.
My guess is that Gabriel didn’t think of himself as all that scarey.

But neither Zechariah or Mary seemed all that happy to meet him.

But that doesn’t deter Gabriel from doing what God sent him to do.
Sometimes we are put in situations which are uncomfortable as we seek to represent God to those within our circle of influence.

Luke doesn’t tell us if it was Gabriel who was also sent to speak to the shepherds, but it seems logical, what with travel expenses being what they are, that God would send the angel he already had in the area to speak to the shepherds.

Gabriel, going from Jerusalem, to Nazareth, and then to Bethlehem.

Each time met with fear on the part of those he spoke to. Each time going as an act of obedience to God.

The angels of light, and especially Gabriel, do the bidding of the almighty.
They went where they were sent.

What mattered to Gabriel is that he please and obey the one who sent him.

This is a quality worth remembering and emulating!

We should be glad to fulfill his orders wherever it takes us.

As we face a new year one question we ought to ask is this: What does God want me to do?

Gabriel was sent to Jerusalem.
He was sent to Nazareth.

He understood God\s will and did it.
A good model for us!

The second quality we see in Gabriel

Gabriel understood God’s plan and told us about it.

Gabriel plays an important role in the book of Daniel as well as in the book of Luke.

In Daniel we see Gabriel interpreting Daniels dreams as it relates to the end of time. He understood God’s plan and told Daniel about it.

And when we see Gabriel next, some 500 years later, speaking with Zechariah and Mary is shows us the same quality.

A child will be born to you Zechariah - this is God’s plan.
A child will be born to you Mary - this is God’s plan.

His name will be called Jesus - this is God’s plan.
He will be great - this is God’s plan.
He will be the son of the most high - this is God’s plan.
He will reign over the house of Jacob forever.
His kingdom will have no end.

Gabriel knew God’s plans and he told people about it.

The thing is, we know a lot about God’s plans.
We know what he has done already and what he is going to do in the future.

The plethora of fulfilled prophecies we read of in scripture give us confidence that those prophecies yet unfulfilled will still come true.

We know it is God’s plan to bless all who believe upon Jesus, if only his people will share that good news with others.

We know God’s plan to set all things right.
We know there is great hope in the anticipation of the return of Christ.

Unfortunately we get so wrapped up in the fear of the present that we fail to see the hope of tomorrow.
The messages which Gabriel brought were messages about hope and joy and peace.

So often we forget that at the core of our faith is a living hope.

God, through his great mercy has caused us to be born again to hope! That the resurrection of Christ from the dead has given us an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading. And inheritance which is kept in heaven for us.

This is God’s plan for his people. That we would enjoy life eternal in the glory of heaven.

This is the plan we can and should share with those in our circle of influence.

But a blessed eternity is not the only element of God’s plan - a plan which many fail to grasp as all that important or even all that believable.

It is also God’s plan for us to live what Jesus calls an abundant life now. That our faith in Christ brings about a fundamental change within us that enables us to live in joy even in the midst of whatever is happening in the world around us.

For God has given his people something special.
A future and a hope.

And as long as we hold on to an understanding of God’s plan we can survive anything that comes our way.

And like Gabriel, when we understand God’s plan we are willing to tell others about it.

Because it is a glorious message of hope which is desperately needed in our world.

Gabriel understood God’s plans and told others about them.

A good model for us.

The third quality we see in Gabriel is this.

Gabriel understands God’s ability and believes in it.

You know the Christmas story contains so many miracles. So many bizarre elements.

God told Gabriel to tell and old man that his old wife would have a child.

Gabriel seems to respond “Okay. You can do anything!”

God tells Gabriel that a young virgin will give birth and Gabriel seems to respond “Okay, You can do anything.”

God is a God of miracles. No father necessary.

We don’t know HOW God does stuff - we just know that he does!

Virgin birth preserves the sinlessness of Jesus.

Nothing is impossible with God!
Thousands of years before something is going to happen, God mentions it through his prophets.

When God says he can and will, he does.

Gabriel never doubts the ability of God to fulfill his word.

This is a lesson well worth learning!

A review of the prophecies fulfilled just in the birth of Jesus reminds us that when God says he will do something he does it. When he says that something will happen it happens.

Never underestimate God’s ability.

The Christmas narrative impresses upon us the ability of God to do what is impossible with mankind.

The angel Gabriel understood that God can do anything he wants to do - even if it seems like it will take a miracle.

But God is still a God of miracles.
Often the miracles of our day are passed off as some sort of natural even or fluke or mis-diagnosis.

A disease the doctor said you have but you didn’t really have - we can’t believe it was a divine healing - it must be a bad doctor!

Don’t be fooled. God is still in the miracle business.

Because some of the greatest miracles are yet to come.

When the Michael the archangel blows a trumpet and we see Christ descend in the clouds.

When a new heaven and a new earth are populated by the people of God.

When there are no more tears. No more pain. No more sorrow.

Gabriel understood God’s ability and believed it.
A good model for us.

Understand God’s will and do it
Understand God’s plan and tells others about it
Understand God’s ability and believe in it.

These are the lessons Gabriel teaches.