In Part 3 of a 3-part series, “Parallels With Jesus,” we examine the life of Daniel, a Jewish captive taken to Babylonia but raised to be a top advisor to the king. In Part 1 of this series, we looked at Jesus and Joseph ; in Part 2, we looked at Jesus and Job.
Daniel replied, “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has a asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries.” (Daniel 2:27-28 NIV)
[Jesus] did not need anyone to testify concerning man [and human nature], for He Himself knew what was in man [in their hearts—in the very core of their being]. (John 2:25 AMP)
ONLY THE DIVINE CAN KNOW THE THOUGHTS WITHIN A MAN’S OR WOMAN’S HEART.
That point is so telling in the Bible’s comparison of Daniel in the Old Testament and Jesus Christ in the New Testament.
In the Book of Daniel, Chapter 2, the Babylonia king has a disturbing dream, so he calls in the wisest men in his kingdom to tell him what his dream means.
But he does not want to be fooled. Instead of first telling them the dream and then asking for their interpretation, he tells the wise men they have to describe the dream to him and then tell him their interpretation.
Well, the wise men aren’t the wise men for nothing. They know they can’t discern what the king’s dream was, so they plead with him to describe the dream to them. Even under penalty of death, the wise men are not able even to make a guess as to what the king was thinking.
While the king sends his guard out to execute the wise men, Daniel offers to interpret the dream for the king, but first, he asks his closest comrades to pray with him for divine revelation.
During the night, the Lord reveals the king’s dream to Daniel as well as the dream’s meaning.
NOT SO WITH JESUS.
In John’s gospel, also in Chapter 2, we read that Jesus has just cleared the Temple of money changers and demanded that His Father’s House be a house of prayer, not a market for the enrichment of the Jewish religious leaders.
John tells us that many of the Jews who watched Jesus perform miracles and who heard His teaching “believed in his name” or “believed in him.” Yet Jesus “would not entrust himself to them” (vv. 23-24 NIV) because He knew what was in their hearts.
Why the difference?
Why did a godly man like Daniel need to surround himself with other godly men and spend time in prayer, asking the Lord for His revealing power to present the king’s dream and meaning to him, when Jesus did not seek Divine intervention and yet still knew the hearts of men?
Simply this: Jesus is God; Daniel is not.
There are so many ways the Bible tells us that Jesus is God. Of course, there are the direct comments from Jesus Himself, like in John 14:6 NIV, when He says, “I am the way and the truth and the life” or in John 4:26 TLB, when He tells the Samaritan woman at the well, “I am the Messiah!” or even John 10:30 ESV: “I and the Father are one.”
THERE ARE MANY OTHER REFERENCES, TOO.
One of the most beloved is Luke’s account of Jesus returning from the wilderness, where, after 40 days and nights of fasting, He had been subjected to the devil’s abuse, and returns to Nazareth to the temple where His family worshipped when He was a boy.
There, He was given the sacred scroll to read, and He selected a passage from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, “The spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.” After reading this, He sat down and proclaimed to all, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Some of them are so rich, they can be relished over and over, like when Jesus in John 5 says that “the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me” (v. 37 NIV) or Luke 18:19 TLB, when He said,“Do you realize what you are saying when you call me ‘good’?” Jesus asked him. “Only God is truly good, and no one else”; or John 14:9 CEB, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”
While Jesus made it abundantly clear that He was the long-anticipated Messiah, Daniel made no such claim about himself.
In fact, Daniel had his own dreams and did not know their meaning. In Daniel Chapter 8:16 NIV, for example, Daniel describes watching a vision, when he heard a man’s voice telling the angel Gabriel, “Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of the vision.”
Again, Daniel relied on divine intervention; Jesus did not rely on divine intervention because He, himself, was and is divine.
WHAT IS STRIKING IN BOTH STORIES, that of Daniel seeking God’s help, and that of Jesus proclaiming God’s Kingdom at hand, is how frequently and how personally the God of the universe intervenes in human affairs.
This is not your remote god off somewhere on a mountaintop sending thunderstorms when he’s in a bad mood, or just a block of wood sitting on the shelf, or even a rotating spirit inhabiting the same statute somewhere in the Far East.
This is a God who lays it right out there. Check Isaiah 44:6 NCV: “This is what he [the Lord] says, ‘I am the beginning and the end. I am the only God.’”
Now, add Jesus’ numerous statements that He is God, that He and the Father are one, that He obeys the Father, that if we have seen Jesus, we have seen the Father, and then backs it up with amazing miracles, spot-on prophesies, and promises that give us hope of eternal life with him.
What we have is what the apostle John called “the Word [becoming] flesh and … dwelling among us” (John 1:14 NIV).
PRAYER: O Lord, You can look into our hearts and know our thoughts, our feelings, our loves and hates, our desires, our sins — and You love us anyway. Be present in our lives, change our hearts from stone to flesh, and lead us on straightened paths. May Your light shine through the cracks in our lives to brighten a troubled world in desperate need for a Savior. We lift this petition in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Your Son. Amen
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