As I conclude this collection of writings on the book of Esther, I want to focus on the greatness of Christ. Perhaps this seems like an unlikely way to end the study of an Old Testament book taking place during the days of King Ahasuerus and the Persian Empire. But the grace of God expressed in these final pages of Esther finds its fulfillment in the person and work of Christ.
The end of Esther is a celebration. It’s a time of remembrance. The Jews, having just been saved from Haman’s evil plan, find themselves throwing a party of sorts. And the celebration they institute is known as Purim.
“And Mordecai recorded these things and sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, obliging them to keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar and also the fifteenth day of the same, year by year, as the days on which the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, days for sending gifts of food to one another and gifts to the poor” (Esth. 9:20-22 ESV).
In previous weeks, I have emphasized God’s protection of the Jews from destruction and harm at the hands of Haman. And now, in chapter 9, that victory is realized and cherished. How much more should we celebrate the reality of our salvation from certain death? Like the Jews in the Persian Empire, we have been rescued and freed. And while the Jews might view Esther as the hero, we cling to Christ as our Savior.
The psalmist writes, “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!” (Ps. 30:11-12 ESV).
But celebrating in the moment is coupled with a dedication to remember for years to come.
The Jews reflect upon Haman’s failed attempt of casting lots (Pur) to determine their destruction. “Therefore they called these days Purim, after the term Pur. Therefore, because of all that was written in this letter, and of what they had faced in this matter, and of what had happened to them, the Jews firmly obligated themselves and their offspring and all who joined them, that without fail they would keep these two days according to what was written and at the time appointed every year, that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, in every clan, province, and city, and that these days of Purim should never fall into disuse among the Jews, nor should the commemoration of these days cease among their descendants” (v. 26-28 ESV).
How dedicated are we to remember, reflect upon, and celebrate the glorious victory of Christ? As we gather on Sunday morning, are we excited about God’s work in our hearts? Are we in awe at the beauty and grace of our Savior? Or, do we sit in pews each week with little joy at the thought of our salvation? Do we mumble the hymns? Let our minds wander during the sermon? There’s something to celebrate about the gospel. Why? Not because we are perfect. Not because we have our lives together. But because of the greatness of Christ.
You see, Esther ends by describing the greatness of Mordecai. In this postscript, we read, “For Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Ahasuerus, and he was great among the Jews, and popular with the multitude of his brothers, for he sought the welfare of his people and spoke peace to all his people” (10:3 ESV).
Throughout the book of Esther, we watch God work behind the scenes. Despite the mundane. And we recognize His sovereignty in the silence. We watch as He uses Esther and Mordecai to preserve His people and accomplish His purposes. And by the end of the book, Mordecai is in the same position of power and influence as the man who sought to do him harm. Only God can rework the evil plans of sinful men for the glory of His name. And that’s what we find in Esther.
Just as Mordecai “… sought the welfare of his people and spoke peace to all his people,” so Christ does for us. And just as Mordecai and Esther saved the people from destruction, so Christ does for us. The question is whether or not you have surrendered your life to Him. And if you haven’t, I pray you accept His grace today.
May we savor and celebrate the greatness of Christ.
Isaiah Pauley is the Minister of Worship for Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va. Find more at www.isaiahpauley.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.