Easter mystery is the most important event in Christianity.
The role of divine servants in crucial events in salvation of mankind. The first angelic appearance takes place in the Garden of Gethsemane. According to the Bible, Christ experiences spiritual agony in the garden before crucifixion. As a doctor Luke appears the most precise in describing bloody sweat on Jesus’ forehead which emphasizes His deep spiritual pain and intense fear: "Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not my will, but yours be done" (Luke 22,42). Then, "an Angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground". (Luke 22, 43:44) Lack of the last sentence in some Bibles suggests that it was difficult for their authors to accept Christ’s weakness. As well as the angel Satan is also present in the Gethsemane ready to make use of God’s fear and loneliness.
The second angelic appearance is still in the garden of Gethsemane; when Peter cuts off one of the soldiers’ ear Jesus says: "Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and He will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?
(Matthew 26, 52:54) Christ is certain of angelic defence as well as He knows about Peter’s forthcoming act of cowardice. Attempts to interpret the phrase "legions of angels" seems futile. Although there are many hypotheses concerning a number of angels (according to one of them, a legion equals seventy-two thousand divine servants), the one by Pseudo-Dionysius appears the most correct: the number of angels is beyond human imagination.
Angels accompany Jesus in His passion, but are obedient to God and do not intervene. If they rescued God’s Son from death, how would "the Scriptures be fulfilled"? The next angelic appearance occurs in front of an empty tomb after Christ’s resurrection: "After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men". (Matthew 28, 1:4) The angel is like God’s seal of truth, his words are the Lord’s notarial deed: "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen just as He said. Come and see the place where he lay". (Matthew 28, 1:7) The rest of the evangelists describe the scene in a similar way which suggests the existence of the same source, probably the oral tradition. It does not matter how many angels talk to the women near the tomb.
What matters most is what they say about Christ: "Don’t be alarmed, you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him, just as he told you" (Mark 16, 6:7); and Luke makes it more precise: "In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen!" (Luke 24, 5:6) But what do people do in that mystic morning? Some of them sleep, the others do not believe in the resurrection and Maria Magdalene takes Jesus for a gardener! The world does not realise the miracle of salvation whereas the heavenly world confirms the truth about Christ’s resurrection by sending an angel to reveal it to the disciples.
For the last time angels appear in the Acts. They rebuke the apostles: "Men of Galilee, why are you standing here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven" (The Acts 1,11). Those who want to hear, will hear an angelic voice. Those who do not want to hear, will say "It is thundering". There are lots of information about angels in apocryphal books. The latter were rejected by church authorities in the past; however, nowadays the texts are considered a rich source of historical and moral background of the ancient era. In the Gospel of Peter, which was written approximately in the year 120, two angels help the resurrected Jesus go to heaven. The personalized cross comes after them and announces: "Yes, I’ve born witness to those who sleep!"
In "The letter of Pontius Pilate to Tiberius" Pilate sees a procession of angels who sing "Crucified Christ has resurrected! Arrive the captives of Hades!" Pontius regrets of passing an unjust sentence and decides to take punishment voluntarily. According to the manuscript, he is beheaded..
The mystery of salvation is hard to understand rationally; we have got a choice: we may either believe in angelic message of Christ’s resurrection or we may doubt and try to hush up the truth like Roman soldiers who were bribed by Jewish authorities: When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, "You are to say, His disciples came during the night and stole him away when we were asleep. If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble". (Matthew 28,12:14)
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