The Angels in Heaven watched as Jesus’ trial progressed; there he was, captive to these mortal beings the Father had created all those years ago.
As they had from the start, thirty-three years ago, they found it difficult to understand what was happening on Earth. Since the beginning of the Earth, the Angels had been the ones privileged to perform God’s will on Earth. From guarding the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve were forced to leave to telling Mary and Joseph that they would bear God’s Son, God’s will on earth had been theirs to bring about.
But this time was different, now their Lord stood alone, being tried by these disobedient creatures who were continually blinded and led astray by the enemies of Heaven. They seemed unable to understand that, to the enemy, they were mere pawns, tools to be used in a war with God, one which the devil was destined to lose. But to God, they were a thing of beauty and loved above all else, as evidenced by the fact that that was God’s own Son standing with Pontius Pilot in Rome. The Angels were growing tired of watching these humans consistently fail God as they had since the beginning of time.
Now, God, in one extraordinary demonstration of love and commitment, had allowed His Son to experience life as a man. And these creatures had the audacity to put Christ on trial, in God’s name no less, accusing him of blasphemy just for telling them who he was. Only hours before, the Angels had witnessed one of Christ’s dearest friends betray him three times, even after he was told he would do it and, in effect, given the opportunity not to sin. Now people who welcomed him with hosannas would be asked to speak for him, to choose Jesus over a murderer.
A quiet hush fell over the Heavenly assembly as they listened to Pilot proclaim, “I can’t find any fault with this man, who should I release,” and they waited with expectancy, support for Christ must surely be forthcoming from the crowd.
“Crucify Him, crucify Christ,” – The mob’s words rang through Heaven’s architecture as stunned members of Heaven’s ranks watched in astonishment and horror.
Immediately, high-ranking angels began to issue the orders that would prepare the angels for battle. As the Heavenly arsenals were emptied, the swords and shields clanged and clattered as each angel prepared for war and then awaited the inevitable command from God; “bring my Son home.” These creatures weren’t worth saving; surely He could see that now.
Amid the noise, an older Angel mounted a platform. He had just spoken to the Highest Command – there would be no battle. God’s will must be accepted by all of Heaven, just as His Son had.
The stunned Angels turned back, the silence hung like a dark cloud as they watched Christ tortured, beaten, and spit on. They watched as a heavy cross was laid across His shoulders, and they watched His walk to Golgotha.
As the nails were driven into His hands, Heaven’s Great Hall was broken only by the sobs of grief and frustration as the Angels watched Christ suffer. They waited with expectation; they couldn’t believe God would let His own Son die; furthermore, Christ himself could summon the Angels to His defense.
Then astonishment as they heard Christ forgive a sinner crucified on the cross next to him. They watched as the sky darkened in the terrible place where Jesus hung suspended between Earth and Heaven. And then He cried, “My God, My Father, why have you turned your back on Me?” This couldn’t be true, the Angels struggled to comprehend, but as always, they obeyed. Off to one side of the great chamber, unnoticed, an Angel of high rank quietly received instructions and left quickly with Heaven’s greatest sword; his destination—the Temple of Jerusalem. At Christ’s death, the sword was used to cut the curtain, from top to bottom, that separated the worshipers from the Inner Sanctum.
In Hell, these proceedings were watched with great delight. God’s son was theirs, and soon, His death would settle these matters at last. God’s strategy was bewildering, for it was well-known they would be defeated in combat if God would sacrifice those humans, but He consistently tried to save them, and now, in one shattering blow, it had cost Him His Son.
Christ finally died, and Hell settled down to await his arrival, now they would see their victory.
Men laid Jesus in His tomb while the demons prepared to meet Christ.
As He entered Hell, His beauty silenced them with His power. The presence of God’s son was overpowering; this was a great victory over Heaven.
Christ entered the presence of Satan, and all watched to see how He would behave. To their amazement, He stood tall and strong, His command assured—this was not the meek and mild Jesus they had expected, but a capable undefeated opponent.
Something was desperately wrong.
In Heaven, the angels began to hear rumors, a glimmer of understanding, the strategy becoming clear. In hushed tones, they spread the news “He will live again.” Quiet commands dispatched Angels to guard His body. And that Sabbath, three days later, the Angels watched the religious leaders going through their meaningless rituals as all Heaven watched expectantly for this battle’s final conclusion.
In hell, the demons watched anxiously, their anxiety level climbing higher and higher as behind closed doors, the devil and Christ confronted each other with claims of victory but, as the few who were allowed to watch could clearly see, Jesus was not confronted with an equal, but a mere angel who had desperately tried to be equal with God and whose evil ambitions would now bring far greater consequences.
Sunday morning, the tired anxious demons waited to see the outcome of this drama. The doors to the devil’s chambers were violently thrown open and Christ walked from there, clearly victorious. He marched out of the gates of hell and into the distance as the bewildered demons watched in fear, their victory quickly slipping away.
In Heaven, an urgent command went forth to reinforce the attendants at Christ’s tomb. At the tomb, the angels stood to the rear. The body had already begun to decompose, and why wouldn’t the Father create a new body for His Son? It seemed quite strange, really, after all that had occurred, that Jesus even need to return to this place; after all, they had rejected Him.
Early, just before the sunrise, the attendants received the word that Christ would need this fragile vessel, His body, once more to walk on Earth. They watched in awe, for even Angels are held spellbound by God’s power, as the body stopped decaying and prepared for life.
The heart took its first beat, slowly at first and then ever stronger. As the blood reached His hands, feet, and side, it seeped through the dried cracked wounds and stained His no-longer needed burial shroud. His breaths came in gasps as the fluid left his lungs and the Angels removed the shroud from His face. The blood oozed from his forehead where the crown of thorns had been thrust.
As He stood, they could see Him working the stiffness out of His limbs and His face shone with strength and victory and love.
One of the Angels moved the stone to one side and let the sunshine in and warm His face. They watched in amazement at the love in His eyes as He walked forward into the world He had worked and suffered so much to save. The angels understood that God had succeeded. People now had access to the Father and could never ignore this gift, their salvation.