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God at Work through You
When we consider Christmas heroes, Joseph, Mary, the magi, and the shepherds immediately come to mind. One of the great overlooked Christmas heroes may well be the prophet Daniel.
Why Daniel? Daniel is the only Old Testament prophet to predict the timing of the Messiah’s coming (Daniel 9:24–27). An angel told Daniel how many years would transpire between the decree to rebuild Jerusalem and the Messiah’s arrival.
The angel’s visit raises a question: Why tell Daniel and nobody else? Three times the angel describes Daniel, a captive foreigner, as “highly esteemed” (Daniel 9:23; 10:10, 19). Specifically, the angel notes Daniel’s unswerving commitment to gaining understanding, grieving over committed sins, and humbling himself before God (Daniel 10:12). He was the wisest man of his time, one whom people at all levels of society trusted. Daniel’s wisdom and integrity were so great that two of the most powerful rulers who ever lived each made him their prime minister. What makes this fact all the more remarkable, not to mention unprecedented in human history, is that the second king Daniel served was the conqueror of the first.
God used Daniel to bring His message to the most powerful rulers and, through them, to their citizens. Because of Daniel’s outstanding virtue and character, God entrusted him with insights and understanding about future events. Consequently, Daniel greatly influenced not only his own generation but also many subsequent generations.
As the wisest, godliest, and most trusted of Persia’s wise men (magi), Daniel influenced the magi who lived in that region at the time of Christ’s birth. So great was the respect these scholars had for Daniel that, based on fewer than 100 words of his prophecy, they launched a major expedition to seek out the newborn Messiah and present gifts appropriate to His royal identity. These gifts likely provided for His survival, the costs of His parents’ journey to Egypt to escape Herod’s wrath.
How about wise men and women today? The Messiah is coming again. Many Bible texts tell us He will return in due time. The most specific say His return will occur as soon as His followers take the message of redemption to all the people groups of the world. Will you, like Daniel, humble yourself before God, grieve over the sin both inside and outside the church, and prepare to share the Good News with anyone God brings to you? There is no better time than Christmas to invite people to join you in an eternally redeemed relationship with the Messiah. Let’s hasten the second Advent—the Messiah’s return!