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Luke 2, Proverbs 14

Three times, in three verses, we are told Simeon, full of God’s Spirit has been tasked with proclaiming God’s salvation through the baby born in Bethlehem. This continues the theme mentioned yesterday about the Spirit’s preparation for Jesus’ ministry. Today, however, I focus attention on a detail in our passage reflecting a pattern that, as we have read the Bible, maybe we overlooked. Consider how often angels, when they visit, necessarily tell people not to fear. Today, when the angels visit the shepherds, we see the shepherds are afraid and are thus commanded not to fear (Luke 2:8-10). Why do angels need to tell those they visit not to be afraid. Three quick answers: 1) Angelic visitation isn’t common, so we should expect something so unusual to startle. 2) Angels are much more “terrif-ic” than famous paintings and even shows like Touched By An Angel can convey. 3) Because these events really happened. This last point might not be obvious. But consider, in science, we expect that if you drop an object in a vacuum, it will drop and accelerate at a certain rate every time (9.8 m/s squared). So if angels visit, and every time they have to tell people not to be afraid, it makes sense that we should allow the likelihood these events happened, especially since Biblical authors so frequently note this reaction. Do not think I am trying to offer “proof”. Rather, I am trying to ask why, since the BIble was written by so many different authors, over various years, even on different continents, do angelic visitations have this common trait?
 

Jeremiah Vaught