“When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11).
The Bible talks about angels who are guarding God’s people. As I read this text (the ascension of Jesus) and compare it to the text of the Easter story (Luke 24:1-10), Jesus had not only one guardian angel but two. Most Bible scholars believe Luke was the author of both the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts because of the similarity in writing style, the concept in the works of the Holy Sprit and terminologies used. Here, we see the use of “two men”, in both Luke and Act, to refer to angels. These “two men”, I believe, were the same “two men” who appeared at the tomb on Easter morning when Jesus rose from death.
The concept of guardian angel is widely known in the Old and New Testament. Lot and his family were protected by angels when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed (Gen. 18-19). An angel was involved in the rescue of Hagar and her son, Ishmael (Gen 21:17-18). In Exodus 32:34, God said to Moses, “my angel shall go in front of you.” David wrote in the Psalm about God’s angels protecting him (as also referred to Christ in NT), “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone” (Ps. 91:11-12). In the New Testament, an angel rescued Peter from prison, and when he got to the door of John Mark’s house, people thought it was his angel (Acts 12:12-17). For Jesus, angels were with him through his life, from his birth announcement to the wilderness in his preparation for ministry, and from the Garden of Gethsemane to the tomb where he rose to life, and at last in his accension as he departed from the physical world.
In his sermon in Psalm 91 about guardian angels, John Wesley said, “they (holy angels) are always ready to assist us when we need their assistance, always present when their presence may be of service, in every circumstance of life wherein is danger of any sort, or world be if they were absent… they are to keep us in all our ways” (Sermon 135). John Wesley believed he himself had a guardian angel who had rescued him from mob violence.
The thought of having a guardian angel with us, to give us strength and protection is comforting. Whether or not we each have our own assigned/personal guardian angel, the guardian angel is said to be from God to support us in time of our need, sometimes in the moment of desperation. I believe we all have a moment that we were rescued, strengthened, or protected by our guardian angels. The same guardian angel may also be the one taking us home as we depart out of this world, as people who suffered from near-death experience often seeing angels coming for them. Two angels took Jesus to heaven. Our angel will take us as well, but to where? This is a question everyone must wrestle. Many people don’t know where they are going when they depart from this world. Jesus knew where he was going, and I hope you know where your angel will take you when your time comes.