Worth Reading–September 21, 2011

by Steve

Here’s an excerpt of a post from Dane Ortlund over at his blog, Strawberry-Rhubarb Theology.

The Real Lions’ Den

The final few days of Jesus’ earthly life share remarkable parallels with Daniel’s brush with the furry felines in Daniel 6.

Both Daniel and Jesus . . .

. . . are lonely faithful Israelites who find themselves in a land under Gentile rule (Dan 6:1);

. . . are filled with God’s Spirit (Dan 6:3; Luke 4:1, 14);

. . . are conspired against by ill-meaning, jealous men of influence (Dan 6:4; Matt 26:3-4);

. . . are above reproach, making it impossible for their antagonists to find fault with them (Dan 6:4; Matt 26:59-60);

. . . are found guilty through treachery (Dan 6:4-9; Matt 27:20);

. . . pray to God, alone, before the impending arrest (Dan 6:10; Matt 26:36);

. . . are presented to a Gentile ruler who would prefer to side with the accused (Dan 6:14; John 19:4);

. . . have a stone rolled over the opening of where they have been placed (Dan 6:17; Matt 27:60);

. . . are, against expectation, found alive in the morning (Dan 6:19; Matt 28:5-6)

. . . are brought up out of a hole in the ground where the stone has now been removed (Dan 6:23; Matt 28:6);

. . . convince a Gentile observer that they were blameless (Dan 6:22-23; Mark 15:39).

There is one great difference, of course. Daniel was spared; Jesus was not. From one perspective, of course, both Daniel and Jesus were unjustly accused, arraigned, and placed in a hole out of which they both miraculously arose in full vindication. Yet the fearful demise to which Daniel was handed over never overtook him. He escaped. He was spared. The fearful demise to which Jesus was handed over did overtake him (Mark 14:34; 15:24). He did not escape. He was not spared.

Dane goes on to say:

I believe that as a Christian I must read Daniel 6 in the knowledge that there was someone who was thrown into a den of lions and torn to shreds. The real lions’ den. Daniel prayed in his room, and was thrown into the den, but spared–only, ultimately, because Jesus prayed in the garden, was denied and thrown into the den, and not spared.

When Jesus went to the cross he was punished so that you and I can know that whether we are spared the lions or eaten, whether circumstantial hell breaks loose over our lives or not–and in some way, at some time, it will–it can only be for our good, out of love, not for our punishment, out of wrath.

The only lion that could ever truly harm us has been de-fanged (Col 2:15; 1 Pet 5:8). The fangs of condemnation sank into another.

Here’s a link to the whole article.