Reflection on resurrection
“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego preserved from the Burning Fiery Furnace” by Simeon Solomon (1863)
By Jennifer Clark Tinker
Originally posted April 20, 2014, at Living Faith.Republished with permission of the author.
I’ve shared before that I love the vigil on Holy Saturday (the night before resurrection day). But one of my “mostest favoritest” parts of the vigil is the reading of the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and their deliverance from the fiery furnace. If you haven’t read the story lately, it is well worth looking it up in your Bible in Daniel 3:1-29.
The gist of it is that King Nebuchadnezzar wants everyone to worship a golden statue that he has set up and if they don’t he’s going to throw them in a “furnace of blazing fire,” which, of course, would mean death. But three young Hebrew men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego serve only one God and refuse to worship the king’s statue.
Their defiance of the king gets him so mad that “his face is distorted” and he orders the furnace to be turned up seven times hotter! He has the three men bound and thrown in. The handlers that throw them in get killed by the flames because the furnace is so hot.
But when the king looks into the furnace he sees four men: Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and another with the appearance of a god, moving around, unbound, clearly still alive. The king is astonished and orders these “servants of the Most High God” to come out of the furnace.
Nebuchadnezzar recognizes that this God that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego worship has saved them from what should have been certain death. He then makes a decree that no one should blaspheme against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego because “there is no other god who is able to deliver in this way.”
And indeed, it is this Most High God, with the power to defy death that we worship.
But in the work of Jesus, God did not simply sidestep death; God went all the way through it. What this means, as my theology professor David Truemper, used to say, is there is now no part of our human experience that God has not personally gone through. And not only that, but he conquered death once and for all in the resurrection.
There is no other God who is able to deliver in the way that Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior has done for us.
Thanks be to the Most High God for the victory of Jesus’ resurrection!
Find a link to Jennifer Clark Tinker’s blog Living Faith at Lutheran Blogs.