Focal Passages: Esther 8:1-8; 9:20-22
Esther’s final plea to Ahasuerus was that he overturn Haman’s policy of annihilation. She approached the king in humility, falling at his feet and weeping and requested the protection of her people.
The king could not overturn Haman’s original order because it had his seal. But he did grant the Jews the right to defend themselves and destroy their enemies. After their victory, Mordecai led the Jewish people to memorialize the event with the feast of Purim.
Remembering God’s victories in the life of Israel has been common practice. Each feast, beginning with Passover, is a reflection of God’s rescue, provision or gracious intervention in their history. The simple fact that the Jewish people still exist and the extent of their influence in Western history points to God as a sovereign promise keeper.
Israel has never been a world power. Even at the height of David and Solomon’s kingdom, Israel had regional influence at best. Yet even secular historians recognize the seminal place Jewish theology and worldview played in the development of Western civilization.
Hitler was just another Haman who attempted to annihilate the Jews. Anti-Semitism is still rife around the world. Yet, Israel exists. They still remember. They still reflect on the faithful God who has always protected them. The Jewish people still celebrate their feasts.
Their feasts point to something even greater – salvation through Jesus. Jesus is the Passover Lamb. Even Esther foreshadows the coming Messiah. As she bowed in humility and tears begging the king for the lives of her people, Jesus would kneel in humility and tears in the garden before His crucifixion.
As the king could not overrule the law with his seal, God the Father could not overlook sin. So Jesus took the penalty demanded by His Father’s law and became the rescue of the people He prayed for. So let us look back at Esther, see Jesus and remember our rescue.