Daily Devotional

Jesus and the Lions' Den - Part 2 of 3

Rescue Me from the Mouth of the Lions

by Simon Whitton

In the preceding devotional we looked at how the story of 'Daniel and the Lions' Den' speaks prophetically into the circumstances leading up to Jesus' execution. The administrators and satraps were unable to find a basis to charge Daniel because he was innocent and honest, so they fabricated charges against him. Daniel's response was to pray which is where we pick up the story…

Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help.   Daniel 6:11 (NIV)

A crowd came up to Gethsemane where Jesus was praying, sent by the chief priest and elders.  (Matthew 26:47, Luke 22:47)

The administrators and satraps went before Darius and had to persuade him that Daniel had broken the law, and deserved to be executed; also claiming only the King could be worshipped.  (Daniel 6:12-13)

The chief priests and elders took Jesus before the Roman Governor Pilate and tried to convince him that Jesus had broken the law and deserved crucifixion; they even told Pilate “we have no King but Caesar".  (John 19:4-16)

Darius was greatly distressed, and made every effort to save Daniel, but the administrators and satraps reminded him of the law; so Darius had to let Daniel be executed to fulfill the law.  (Daniel 6:14-15)

Pilate's wife suffered greatly concerning Jesus' innocence, and Pilate made a persistent effort to set Jesus free; but the Jews insisted Jesus had to die to fulfill the law.  (Matthew 27:19, John 19:6-7, 12a)

So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions' den. The king said to Daniel, "May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!"  Daniel 6:16 (NIV)

Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified, and men said, “Let God rescue Him".
(Matthew 27:43a, Psalm 22:8)

A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring.  Daniel 6:17a (NIV)

A large stone was rolled in front of Jesus tomb.  Pilate made the tomb as secure as he could and placed a seal on the stone.  (Matthew 27:60b, 65-66)

After the stone was sealed, we are not certain about what happened next, but we are given some clues in Psalm 22:

12 Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
13 Roaring lions tearing their prey open their mouths wide against me.
16 Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet.
18 They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.
21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

Psalm 22:12-13,16,18,21 (NIV)

Psalm 22 is a clear prophecy about the conspiracy against Jesus and His execution; but what should we make of the references to "roaring lions"?  We are aware that Daniel would have been surrounded by “roaring lions", and looked to God to rescue him from the mouth of the lions; but what is their significance to Jesus? Lions are symbolic of several things in the scriptures, but "roaring lions" (vs.13) are often associated with wicked rulers, authorities or powers.

Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8b (NIV)

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)

Daniel was surrounded by flesh and blood lions, but Jesus was encircled by spiritual forces of evil, the authorities and powers of Hell.  This is alluded to in this next scripture which is commonly interpreted as 'Jesus descended into Hell'.

What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions?  Ephesians 4:9 (NIV)

Spend some time in prayer.  You may be in a dire situation, and it may even appear that your fate has been sealed by the authorities; but look to the God of heaven to rescue you.
Jesus and the Lions' Den - Part 1 of 3

Jesus and the Lions' Den - Part 3 of 3

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