Daniel knew that there were lions waiting to devour him if he violated the satrap and governor induced order of the king of Babylon. However, he continued to ply the course on which he had been set, and is said to have continued praying openly and without shame, as he always had done. Daniel is shown to have continued in steadfast faithfulness to the God that he understood to have chosen him and specifically appointed him, that had apparently used him over and over, that had preserved his life, that had raised him up to a position of power and prestige, and had put him in the place where he had much to lose by continuing to walk the path of a prayerful trust in his God. If one was to read these last few lines again, would it not be possible to simply replace “Daniel” with “Jesus”?
As was said before, as far as the story is concerned, Daniel did not make any attempts at persuading the king to change the order or to issue a new decree. Daniel did not attempt to foment a rebellion to overthrow the king and install himself as king, which he might very well have been able to do. No. This was not the path. Instead, he placed his trust in the faithful, covenant God of Israel, to provide him with salvation (deliverance, exodus), regardless of what might occur.
The same can be said for Jesus, when faced with what was, in essence, the same situation. Both Daniel and Jesus would move forward with a confident reliance upon promises granted and outcomes implied. Daniel continued to travel the route on to which he had been placed by his God, which had brought him to the position in which he now found himself, which had caused him to be hated by some, and which had caused his enemies to want to destroy him. The life of Jesus echoes in these statements, through and through.
What, specifically, was Daniel’s response to learning what his adversaries had planned to entrap him? “When Daniel realized that a written decree had been issued, he entered his home, where the windows in his upper room opened toward Jerusalem. Three times daily he was kneeling and offering prayers and thanks to his God just as he had been accustomed to do previously” (Daniel 6:10). From this point, the analogies to Jesus present themselves in rapid fire succession.
It is reported that Daniel prayed in the direction of Jerusalem, and that he did so three times each day. The men who stood against Daniel, and who wanted to destroy him, would have possessed the knowledge that Daniel did this. The story would seem to imply that they were counting on the fact that Daniel would continue in his customary practice, and that he would not hide himself in his praying, even with the deadly decree having been issued against him. What can be said in analogy to Jesus in this regard?
Well, His betrayal took place in the Garden of Gethsemane, which was just across the Kidron Valley, opposite the eastern walls of Jerusalem. The record of Jesus’ activity in that garden is that He went off by Himself, on three individual occasions, to pray. It is not difficult to imagine that He prayed, like Daniel, facing Jerusalem; and the fact of three prayers playing a part in both stories cannot be written off as mere coincidence. In addition, just as Daniel’s opponents knew that he openly prayed in the manner that is reported, the Gospel of John reports that “Judas, the one who betrayed Him (Jesus), knew the place too, because Jesus had met there many times with His disciples” (John 18:2).