All Roads Lead To Jesus - Daniel

Daniel – King Jesus is Walking in the Fiery Trial With Us
Reading: Daniel 3

To suffer is to feel alone. We feel like we are the only ones who know what it is like to experience the heartache. When my chronic back pain was it its worst, I would fantasize about what it was like to feel like the people I saw all around me who seemed to have no physical pain in their life. I wanted my suffering to end. I wanted someone to understand.

It wasn’t until I saw a surgeon who told me that he could offer help that I started to have hope. Essentially, he said he would walk with me and do everything possible to remove as much pain as possible. I was relieved when someone was willing to quite literally enter into my pain and take it away.

Daniel is one of those Old Testament characters whose love and obedience for God we admire. He just about seems blameless in everything that he does and every word he says. He passes every test when faced with unimaginable consequences. Daniel’s seeming perfection is probably the reason why many pastors and teachers make the mistake of making the book of Daniel and their sermons about Daniel and his righteousness.

To be sure, there are things we can learn from Daniel. As much as he imitates Christ, we should imitate him. We should strive to be faithful even when we want to be fearful. We should never bow to the forces of this world because it is the easy or safe thing to do. As righteous as Daniel is, and as faultless as we might find him, we must not miss the central person to which all of Daniel points. The central figure makes an appearance in the least expected place.

Daniel had three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  They had been adopted into the King’s court since they were some of the best minds that Israel had to offer upon their exile. They served King Nebuchadnezzar loyally and faithfully so long as he did not require them to sin against their God. But their day to be faithful in the face of danger had come. The King had erected a giant statue to himself. When the signal was given all of Babylon was required to bow down to this statue. Daniel’s friends would not do it. Their punishment was death by fire in a furnace. The King made good on his threat and he threw the men into the furnace.

The fire was so hot that it killed the attendants when the furnace doors were opened. But Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not harmed by the fire. When the King and his subjects looked into the furnace, they saw the three men talking with a fourth man. Their shackles had fallen off, their clothes were not burning! The fourth man had the appearance of a divine figure.  This man was the pre-incarnate Son of God. He is the central person to the story of Daniel and of every book of the Bible. God himself walked through the furnace and carried the men through.

Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed the only proper response, “No God can save like the God of these men!”

Jesus is the God who saves. His name means, “The Lord Saves”. He is fully man as Babylon witnessed that day, but He is also fully God as the three men in the furnace experienced. Jesus has been tried and tested in every fiery trial that we have been tested in. He has been rejected by friends. He has been betrayed by best friends. He has been called names and unjustly convicted of crimes he did not commit. He died on a rotting cross reserved for criminals and was placed in the bowels of the earth. In his death, Jesus descended into the worst fiery trial any of us will ever face – death itself—and he conquered it!

Each of us walks in fiery trials on an almost daily basis. And yet, Christ by His Holy Spirit abides with each and every one of us who have placed our faith in Jesus Christ. This is why we can live daily life by faith and not fear. The world may be on fire around us and yet Jesus will preserve us until the final day of our lives or the last day of the history of this earth. Our perseverance and preservation is an absolute guarantee.

Jesus will see us through to the final and last fiery trial of death. Like these men who walked with God through the fire and defied Nebuchadnezzar and his evil schemes, we will not walk alone in the valley of the shadow of death. If our loved ones at the time of our death could pull back the curtain between the corporeal world and the spiritual world, they would see a second person walking with us, for we, as Paul says, will be absent with the body but present with Christ.

If your faith is in Christ then rest assured that Jesus is walking with you every step of the way. Every fiery trial in this world and the last fiery trial have all been overcome by God who alone can save. No god has the ability to save in the way that Jesus Christ has saved us.

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