6.2.08

Unbreakable (2)

He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. (Ps 34:20)

Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” (Da 6:21-22)

And the king commanded, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions — they, their children, and their wives. And before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces. (Da 6:24)


In a previous post I started to explore some of the significance of Christ's bones being unbroken. I want to continue these musings with the help of a parallel passage from the Old Testament prophets.

The account of Daniel in the lion's den is very familiar to us - or at least we think it is. On closer inspection though we find, amidst the familiarity, some striking parallels with the account of Christ in the tomb: the stone that was rolled over the entrance and sealed with an official seal; the running at the first light of day to see if he was alive; the man who should have been dead being raised up alive; the enemies of God defeated and crushed, and the good news proclaimed throughout all the kingdom.

Once we have spotted this connection we find another intriguing detail: the behaviour of the lions when the opponents of Daniel were cast in. You would have expected hungry lions to have eaten, torn or mauled. But what did these lions do? They broke their bones.

So Daniel was spared from this fate. Not only was he spared from the lions' mouth, but he was spared from their bone-breaking... In another parallel with Christ, not one of his bones was broken.

This helps us explore the significance of Christ's bones being unbroken, because in the Daniel passage we have more detail: the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.

Broken bones are for those who have been overpowered, unbroken bones for those who have overcome!

God has sent his messenger, Jesus, to shut the mouth of our accuser who prowls like a lion. There is no condemnation for those who are in him. The enemy has lost his power to harm us, because in Christ we are now blameless before the King. He was not overpowered by any power of the enemy - rather he overcame them all - and in him, so can we!

3 comments:

SLW said...

Chris,
I take it from this post, perhaps presumptiously, that you would not agree with any theology that posits Christ being put under the power of the Devil in hell after the crucifixion until the resurrection on the third day. If not, I wouldn't mind hearing your thoughts on the subject. Regardless, thanks, brother.

Chris HH said...

SLW, you're not wrong! That whole idea is absurd. That would make Christ the prisoner who needed to be sprung, rather than the one who sets the captives free.

Whether Christ went to hell or not, I'm not sure of. It's a tricky one theologically with compelling arguments both ways. But I'm sure of this, if he did go to hell it was as a liberator not a captive!

He is the one who holds the keys to death and Hades, not Satan. Hell is not the devil's realm of authority, but his place of final and eternal punishment. Jesus is lord of hell too! Even the lake of fire is under the feet of God.

I think there is a tendency by some to see the cross as a moment of defeat, but one that was turned around in the resurrection. In my own study of the scriptures (and particularly through this study on the unbroken bones) I see no such thing. The cross and the resurrection are both aspects of Jesus' true baptism (that his water baptism prefigured) that was the definitive victory over Satan, sin and death.

SLW said...

Yeah Chris, I see your points. Jesus said of himself (John 10:17-18) that he had the power to lay his life down, and to take it up again. He was never in some forlorn state, taken by the devil and tormented, waiting helplessly for the Father to relent and spring him. I do believe he descended to the dead (Abraham's bosom/Sheol/Hades) but not to be beaten up and reborn, but to kick butt and clean house (1 Pet 3:18-22; Ephesians 4:8-9).