“Jesus and the Lions’ Den”— it’s not a misprint!

Alison Mitchell | September 10th 2019

There are some Old Testament stories that pop up in almost every toddler Bible: Noah and the ark, Jonah and the big fish, David and Goliath…

Daniel in the lions’ den is one of those—but there’s far more to it than most infant Bibles show—which is why we have cheekily called the story “Jesus and the Lions’ Den” instead.

As adults, some of us will have been shown how to look for “types of Christ” in the Old Testament. These are characters who point forward to the coming Messiah, foreshadowing in some way the Lord Jesus. This approach adds richness to our reading of Old Testament scripture, but it’s a hard concept for children to grasp. So in Jesus and the Lions’ Den we’ve looked for a way to make this concept concrete for children.

Jesus and the Lions' Den Storybook

Jesus and the Lions' Den Storybook

$16.99 $14.44

Bible storybook that helps young children discover how Daniel points to Jesus.

Jesus moments

Instead of “types of Christ”, we ask children to look out for “Jesus moments”. These are moments in the story when someone is a little bit like Jesus. So in the account from Daniel 6, there are several moments in which someone from the story is a little like Jesus. That’s a more concrete way of explaining this concept, but still quite hard, so we’ve also added some pictures to spot…

Lion symbols

Each time there is a Jesus moment in the story, we’ve also added a special lion symbol. Of course there are lots of lions in this story, but this special symbol has been hidden in some of the illustrations. So as children read or listen to the story, they can also search each picture to try and spot the hidden lions. Catalina Echeverri, the illustrator, has cleverly built these into the illustrations.

What’s the point?

Spotting Jesus moments and lion symbols is fun—but what’s the point? It helps children to learn more from a story, and also to see how the whole Bible has been designed to fit together. We often teach Bible stories in isolation, but that’s not how the Bible has been put together. The Old Testament points forward to the New; the New builds on the Old; the whole shows God’s great rescue plan throughout all of history.

Here’s just one example from the story of Daniel. In Daniel 6 v 4-5, we find a bunch of corrupt officials trying to get Daniel into trouble with the king. They wanted to show that Daniel had failed in some way, but although “they tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent” (v 4). In other words, in his job, Daniel had done nothing wrong. Nothing!

2,500 years later, another bunch of officials were trying to get Jesus into trouble. They “were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any” (Mark 14 v 55). In his whole life, Jesus had done nothing wrong. Nothing!

If we just read Daniel 6 on its own, we are struck by Daniel’s good character. We can ask ourselves whether it be true of us, if we had enemies looking for something to accuse us of, that they could find nothing wrong?! That’s a challenge for us all. But we miss so much if we leave it there. When we go a stage further, and see how Daniel points forward to Christ, we discover the ultimate perfect man. And it is Christ’s own perfection that makes it possible for our sinful imperfection to be fully forgiven.

Have a go

Looking for Jesus moments is something we can all do, whatever our age. At the back of Jesus and the Lions’ Den we have listed four more Old Testament stories that include moments when someone in the story is a little bit like Jesus. 

Here’s one of them: Moses and the manna in the desert (Exodus 16 v 1-18). Read the story; look for a Jesus moment; then, when you’re ready, compare it with John 6 v 1-15.

You’ll find more examples—and the answers—at the back of the book.

Jesus and the Lion's Den is available to buy here

Alison Mitchell

Alison Mitchell is a Senior Editor at The Good Book Company, where she has worked on a range of products including Bible-reading notes for children and families, and the Christianity Explored range of resources. She is the author of the award-winning Jesus and the Lions' Den and The One O'Clock Miracle.

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