Reflections: November 26, 2020

Thursday of the Last Week

By Aaron Fenker

The king spoke up and said to Daniel, "Daniel, servant of the living God, was your God, whom you serve continually, able to save you from the lions?" Then Daniel spoke with the king, "Long live the king! My God sent His angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions, and they didn't harm me. All because of this: I was found innocent before Him, and also before you, O king, I have done no harm." (Daniel 6:20-23)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Daniel was as good as dead. He was a son of Israel, a worshiper of the true God. He prayed and was condemned to death. King Darius had been tricked into condemning one of his best and closest advisors. Accused by his fellow rulers, he was locked inside that lions' den overnight, never to come out again. But thanks be to God, he did come out again.

In a foreign land, Daniel loved and served a foreign king. He didn't just skirt by but served his neighbor well. Daniel wasn't saved because of this but was given eternal salvation as a free gift. Innocent because of the sacrifice of the coming Savior. It sounds like following God means He will save you from dying if you're good enough. He will certainly care for the body and life He's gifted to you, but that's not what this story's about. As Jesus tells the Pharisees, "You search the Scriptures for you think that in them you possess eternal life, and it is they that testify about Me" (John 5:39). That's Daniel in the lions' den in spades!

What happened in Daniel 6 plays out again some 580 years later. The women go to the tomb, expecting to find a dead Jesus, but that's not what they find at all. Jesus wasn't just as good as dead, He was dead! But then He wasn't. God raised Him from the dead, and there was even an angel there to announce it.

What happened to Jesus will certainly happen to you. You've earned death because of your sin, but Jesus shed His blood for you. Now you, like Daniel, are found innocent before your heavenly Father. That's all yours in Baptism. Rejoice in the story of Daniel. It's a picture of Jesus' resurrection and yours. "Whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope" (Romans 15:4). In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay." (Matthew 28:5-6)

-Rev. Aaron T. Fenker is the pastor of Bethlehem and Immanuel Lutheran churches in Bremen, KS.  
He is also the dean of theology for Higher Things.

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