Daniel then said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no wrong.” (Daniel 6:21,22).

Many New Yorkers, together with many in the West, follow a fashionable mantra: ‘All religions are the same’. This popular form of pluralism seems to make sense, but it fails to account for the many significant differences between the world’s great religions.

Indeed, a more sophisticated form of pluralism argues that there is a deeper, grander ‘truth’ made clear by all religions. This ‘truth’ has little to do with Allah requiring five daily prayers, or Buddha advocating the subduing of the emotions, or Jesus dying on the cross for the sins of the world. It simply points to a greater ‘truth’ that there is an indefinable ‘reality’ drawing the world to itself. In other words, this view of pluralism claims to have discovered a greater ‘truth’ that none of the world’s religions have found. 

However, this more sophisticated form of pluralism has no response to questions such as the certainty of such a ‘reality’ or that such a ‘reality,’ if it exists, has not already been identified.

Daniel’s rescue from the lion’s den assures us there is a sovereign God who not only exists but uniquely wields awesome authority over every aspect of his creation. He is the trustworthy Lord, working out his great purposes throughout creation. In terms of Daniel 6, he can turn hungry lions into docile pets, overcome cunning, corrupt public servants, and overturn the supposedly unchangeable laws of a King.

We see a further example of God’s purposes and power at work – overcoming the powers of sin, of human institutions and of death itself – through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

That does not mean that every time God’s people stand up for Him, he will step in and work a miracle. Hebrews 11 provides many examples of God’s people who were not rescued but were commended for their faith.

Reflect. Daniel 6 reminds us of the reassuring truth that there is a sovereign God who has authority over every human institution. It also reminds us of our need to honor God, whoever we are, and wherever we are. He is trustworthy.

We need to ask God to enable us to stand firm in our faith in Jesus Christ. We also need to pray for wisdom – to know when and how to speak up for him. Every week we all have opportunities.

In Acts 5:27- 32 we read: “When they (the temple police) had brought them (Peter and John), they had them stand before the council. The high priest questioned them, saying, ‘We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you are determined to bring this man’s blood on us.’ 

“But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than any human authority. The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, so that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.’”

Optional – you might like to read: Daniel 6; Acts 5:27-42.

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© John G. Mason – www.anglicanconnection.com



The terrorist acts in Manchester and London over the last two weeks remind us of the fragility of life. Two young Australian women were amongst those who died in London. Our hearts go out to families who have lost loved ones. And we pray for them.

Because of the increasing uncertainties of life, it’s important that we stop and ask ourselves what we really believe. I suggest this because in troubled times we need the assurance of faith for our own sake and for the sake of our testimony to others. 

HG Wells, author of The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine, wrote: “I am an historian. I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.”

Why would a professed unbeliever say that ‘Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history’? What is it about Jesus of Nazareth that has captured the attention of great and lesser minds, from amongst all peoples? Is it the power of his words, the magnetism of his personality, the integrity of his life even in the face of the gross injustice perpetrated against him? Or is it his extraordinary feats, noted by contemporary historians such as Josephus?

There’s something we often forget about the New Testament Gospels: they were not written by just one narrator, or even by Jesus himself. There are Matthew and John, who were amongst the twelve eyewitnesses to Jesus over three years. Also, there was Mark who most likely obtained his information from Peter, another one of the twelve ‘witnesses’. And there was Luke the physician, who assures us of his careful and thorough research. Given Jesus’ unique claims and his teaching, his authority and his compassion, it is important we are assured that the facts are true.

In tough times, it is useful to recall examples of Jesus’ authority and care for his people. Luke 8:40-56 tells us of two sets of people faced with suffering and anguish – the first, a woman who had an incurable hemorrhage for twelve years; the second, a man whose twelve-year-old daughter was dying. Both turned to Jesus for help. In him, both found the help they needed.

Mysteriously awesome. Jairus, a recognized synagogue ruler, was charged with ensuring that the law of Moses was taught and upheld. Yet he made no claims to his position when he met with Jesus. Rather, he fell at Jesus’ feet, humbly asking for help. And when the sick woman interrupted Jesus’ progress to his house, Jairus did not object, despite his anxiety. He had a quiet confidence in Jesus.  During the delay, news came that his daughter had died. With breathtaking confidence, Jesus urged him not to fear. Rather ‘believe’. 

His words underline a major theme in Luke 8. With Jesus, the fear that grips us can give way to the release which faith allows. Arriving at Jairus’s house, Jesus passed by the mourning and disbelieving crowds. Going to the girl’s bedside and taking her hand he said, ‘Child, arise.’  At that she rose and was given food.

Jesus’ miracles point to his real nature – he is truly God in human form. Furthermore, they are mini-portraits of the deeper blessings he offers our suffering world. He invites us all to lean on him in our time of need. He will not always remove our suffering now, but he does promise to be with us. He is also committed to providing a future where there will be no crying or pain. 

So important is this theme that we are addressing it and related questions at the Anglican Connection Conference in Dallas next week (June 13-15). Dr Paul Barnett, one of the keynote speakers, is addressing the theme, ‘Good News that is True News. 

Prayer Almighty and everlasting God, you have given us your servants grace by the confession of a true faith to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and by your divine power to worship you as One: we pray that you would keep us steadfast in this faith and evermore defend us from all adversities; through Christ our Lord.  Amen  (BCP  Trinity Sunday)