Text: Esther Chapters 1-5
OBSERVE: Through the first five chapters of the book of Esther, we read about the rise of a Jewish woman named Esther. She becomes the Queen through a series of events which clearly display the incompetence of the Persian king. An advisor named Haman takes advantage of the king’s incompetence and convinces the king to sign an edict to annihilate all the Jews in the Persian kingdom. However, the king is unaware through all of this that Queen Esther herself is a Jew.
Esther had kept her family background a secret as Mordecai, her relative, had told her to. But now, after the signing of the edict, Mordecai was urging her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him to save the lives of her people. We read this in these verses:
“If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this? “Esther replied, “I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die (Esther 4: 14-16).
INTERPRET: God’s covenant people needed a mediator – someone willing and able to go and plead their case where they could not go – into the presence of the king. Esther knew what this bold approach would likely cost her. If this uninvited visit did not go well, Esther would most certainly lose her comfortable life in the palace and she could possibly lose her life as well. But Esther took her life in her hands, risking everything for her people. She asked for her life and the lives of her people to be spared, and the king did as she requested.
APPLICATION: We too need a mediator willing to go before God, the great King, to intercede for our very lives. We need a deliverer who identifies with us and stands in for us as our representative. God’s edict to punish sin has gone out throughout the world “This is my rule: The person who sins is the one who will die” (Ezekiel 18: 4) – and it cannot be reversed.
But our mediator has gone to the throne asking that the sentence of death be passed down, not on us, but on him. Jesus stepped forward, not to plead for his life but to offer his life. He stepped forward not at the risk of his life but at the certain cost of his life. To stand before the throne to intercede for us not only risked his death, it required his death.
REFLECTION: Does your life clearly display thankfulness for what our Amazing God has done for us?
PRAYER: Jesus, you left your palace with no desire to protect yourself, but with every intention of offering yourself so that my life might be spared. Now as you stand before the throne interceding on my behalf, help me to live a life that clearly displays my thankfulness for what you have done. AMEN.
SONG: At the Cross by Chris Tomlin
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.