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Introducing Esther

Below is a pretty cool introduction to the book of Esther, that sets her life against the backdrop of all the mighty events that were going on, under God's hand. Although it must have felt like God was entirely absent and uninterested in his people who were now just a tiny drop in the ocean of the mighty Persian empire:

Xerxes' Persian Kingdom

Xerxes is just about the most powerful man who has ever lived. And his power is impressive (Esther 1:1-9). But once we get used to the dazzle of the gold, silver and other bling, once we see past the 10 000 'immortals' guarding his massive throne, once we look beneath the surface of the party to end all parties, what we see is pretty shabby. We see some bloke who thinks he is god's gift to the world throwing his weight around, controlling and using other people. And no surprise, women get treated badly by this man - treated as objects to be enjoyed and oogled at when it is convenient to him.

Xerxes

And we are left asking, is this it?

It seems like the way the world is.

Blokes like this have forever dominated and intimidated throne rooms, board rooms, classrooms, bedrooms and sitting rooms - even without the great riches and resouces that Xerxes had.

Xerxes is like the best and the worst of our world and who we are.

And as we see that and as we read the rest of our Bibles the CONTRAST stands out sharply. The contrast between the one who was called: the King of Persia and Media, the Great King, the King of Kings and the King of Nations and the one called Jesus of Nazareth who now has the name above every name.

Xerxes uses his power for his own pleasure and to control or use others. Jesus uses his power to serve others and bless them.

Xerxes abuses women. Jesus honours women

Xerxes paraded his wife degradingly. Jesus parades his bride with honour as one spotless and pure.

Xerxes banishes those who oppose his evil will. Jesus welcomes those who oppose his good will.

Xerxes crushes his enemies. Jesus saves his enemies by dying for them.

Xerxes sat on a throne in Susa. Jesus sits on a throne in heaven.

Xerxes was the most powerful man in quite a big Empire. Jesus is the most powerful man ever - the ruler of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. 

Xerxes claimed to be ‘Sun like’ as a god. Jesus made the sun. He also made the stars.

Xerxes commanded people from every nation to bow to him for a time. Today and forever having conquered death Jesus is gladly worshipped by people in every nation.

In Xerxes a man thought he was God. In Jesus God become man

Xerxes provided a banquet that lasted 6 months. Jesus provides a banquet with no end.

Xerxes thought he was the judge of the earth. Jesus judges Xerxes.

Xerxes appeals to the depraved nature of people. Jesus give depraved people a new nature

Xerxes gave people what they wanted. Jesus gives people what is good for them.  

Xerxes’ words are forgotten. Jesus’ words stand forever.

Xerxes died and his people died too. Jesus lives and so do his people.

How wonderful that we can belong to Jesus' Kingdom and enjoy the blessing of his good rule and loving leadership of us. As Paul says: our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).
And what good news this is.
We don't have to be a noble or a general of 'happen' to live in the right place. God has determined when and where we live 'so that men might seek him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us' (Acts 17:26-27).

As we carry on in Esther we'll see how knowing THIS God can then enable us to live in a world that is still inhabited by men who are sons of Xerxes.

Tags: Esther, Winter Term 2013