Friday

25 April 2014

“Again one in human form touched me and strengthened me. He said, ‘Do not fear, greatly beloved, you are safe. Be strong and courageous!’ When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, ‘Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.’” (vv. 18-19)


Background

This last vision in the book of Daniel again includes a human figure (perhaps like the vision of God we see in Ezekiel 1). One of the clear features of this vision is that hearing it comes at great physical cost for Daniel. We are told his strength leaves him, he collapses in a trance and even after being roused he is weak and trembling (verses 8, 16-17).

In verses 18 and 19 we see something of a resurrection for Daniel. He is strengthened or restored. He gets a new lease of life after being assured he is loved and safe. For him this resurrection is not just about physical strength, but also the strength and security that comes when fear is taken away and we feel safe.

Can we make any connections between this restoration or new life for Daniel to the resurrection of Jesus, still fresh in our minds this Easter week? Are there also connections to new life for the disciples when they meet the risen Jesus and later when they receive the Holy Spirit?

Do we dare make a claim that God is consistent in working for new life, for resurrection in this life as well as for eternity? That it starts with an understanding of being loved and being safe.

Did we see this new strength and new life in Nelson Mandela when released after 27 years in prison, new life that brought new life to a whole nation? Perhaps you have seen new life, new strength, even resurrection in people who have survived abuse or health crises or relationship breakdowns or unemployment.

Could it be that in Daniel here we see an example of a pattern where God brings new life when the future seems impossible? Could it be that here we see part of the role of the Church in being with people when their vision of the future is as bleak as Daniel's and assuring them that they are loved and safe? Helping combat fear so that God can give new life and strength.


To Ponder

  • In whom have you seen resurrection? What was new life/strength like for these people?
  • Reflect on your own experiences of new life. Can you fit this in a wider pattern of new life? If so, how?
  • How might we support others so that they can now they are loved and safe, ready for new life?


Bible notes author:  Revd Dave Warnock

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