The Good Word  

 August 1994
You may recall that the Persian Queen Vashti refused to allow the king to exploit her beauty at a drunken party.  For her efforts, she was dismissed and another queen was sought to take her place.  Esther was the lovely girl chosen to be the new royal consort.  The fact of Esther's Jewishness was not known to the king and his court, although a bond to her heritage was secretly kept through her elderly cousin, Mordecai.

Mordecai often sat at the palace gate and absorbed the sights and sounds of court traffic.  From this habit, it fell his lot to learn of a conspiracy to murder the king of Persia.  The plotters' fate was sealed when Mordecai passed this information to his young cousin, Esther.  But his frequenting the gate also precipitated the crisis for which the story of Esther is renowned.

There was a certain prince, Haman, who was a favorite of the king.  Haman's thirst for praise and recognition led him to require the king's other subjects to bow and scrape in his presence.  Mordecai's failure to join in this worship was a source of considerable irritation to Haman, especially when he learned that Mordecai was a Jew, a member of a minor conquered race.  Mordecai's death alone would not satisfy Haman.  Haman determined to extinguish the entire race of Mordecai, and for this purpose he deviously solicited and obtained the king's cooperation.  A law of execution was proclaimed against the Jews.

Thus was set the great stage.  The all-powerful king on his throne has issued an unchangeable law that can only spell death for his subjects.  At their right hand is the senior courtier urging on the decree of death.  But there is a significant flaw in the plan of death . . .  Esther, the light of the king's life, is born and bred of the doomed race.

The custom was that any who entered the king's inner court without his invitation were put to death unless the king extended the royal scepter in greeting, and granted saving favor.  Now comes Esther, unbidden, into the inner sanctum.  Esther, the most desirable of all Persian beauties, beautiful in intellect, emotion and flesh.  None could be so fair as the queen.  Now comes Esther, unbidden, to the inner court.  Esther, the little Jewish girl, with the blood of slavery and subjugation coursing through her veins.  She is at once the best and worst in the realm.  In fact, royalty; by race, slave.

And the king was pleased!

The extended scepter conveyed life to Queen Esther.  But more -- the extended scepter conveyed life to Esther the Jew.  The extended scepter conveyed life to the Jew.  For Esther did verily represent her race, and for this very purpose she came to royal position at such a time.  To represent her people and be their savior.  For when the king accepted and approved Esther, he accepted and approved her race.

The balance of the story satisfactorily resolves the plight of the condemned race, exalting them in honor and condemning the condemner, Haman, to an ignoble end.

But what is that to us?  Did you then forget that you too face the decree of death?  What do a few years one way or the other matter?  It is the inevitability of death that dampens the most ardent pleasures of life.  Further, it is the inevitability of the law that condemns us to death.  "For the wages of sin is death" and "sin is law breaking." (Romans 6:23 and 1 John 3:4)  Therefore, since all of us continue to break the law, we continue to be subject to death. (Romans 3:23)  This great fact has escaped no man.

The Great King, the Great Lawgiver, proclaims a law that condemns us all to death. (Romans 3:19,20)  Shall we then each and every one undertake to appeal to the King on our own behalf?  Would it not be better to choose someone amongst us with whom the King is likely to be pleased and let that person intercede for all of us, since our cases are alike?  Is there such a person?

Indeed!  God's own son is one of us.  ("Emmanuel.  God is with us." Matthew 1:23)  He that was and is God, became and is man. (Phillipians 2:6,7)  Jesus calls himself our brother. (Hebrews 2:11)  We are the condemned race.  He is one of us, born and bred.

But what of his relationship to the great lawgiver?  They are close, very close. (John 17:22)  Three times, the father declared his love from heaven: "This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:17, Mark 9:7, John 12:28)  But will he speak for us as Esther did for the Jews?  He has, He has!  "For Christ . . . entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence." (Hebrews 9:24)  He is at once the best and the worst of the realm.  As one with the true Father, as one with us.  He appears and the Father is pleased!

And the Father is pleased!

"What, then, shall we say in response to this?  If God is for us, who can be against us?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?  It is God who justifies.  Who is he that condemns?  Christ Jesus, who died -- more than that, who was raised to life -- is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? . . .  I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:30-39)

Dear friend, the good word is simply this, that we have been saved.  Even while we were ignorant of our plight, we were saved.  Not every Jew knew what Esther had done and not every human knows what Christ has done.  But all benefit, so long as they do not deny their heritage.  And Christ is your heritage.  No need to wonder or doubt.  Pinch yourself if you question whether you are human.  See?  You are a part of the redeemed race.  It's settled in God's mind; let it be settled in yours.

Your friend, Herb Sorensen