Esther’s Gethsemane (Part 2)

Please read part one:

See a video of this message starting at the 20 minute mark

In part one, we saw that Esther has effectively given up her life to save her people, just as Jesus did.  After three days of fasting and prayer, Esther goes to king Ahasuerus.  She wins his approval, and he spares her.  Jesus too was freed from death on the third day when God resurrected Him!  Going back to chapter three, we learn the king issued his edict about the slaughter of the Jews on the 13th day of the first month.  Guess what the 14th day of the first month is?  Passover!  

Passover was the feast commemorating the Jews’ exodus from Egypt.  The night of the exodus, they applied lamb’s blood to the doorways of their homes.  God sent the angel of death through Egypt, and people were spared only if their home was marked by lamb’s blood.  Jesus Himself was crucified on Passover as the Lamb of God (John 1:29).  So Esther agrees to give her life for her people during the season of Passover, becoming their Passover lamb like Christ (2 Cor. 5:7).

As mentioned, “not my will” was the motive of Jesus’s life.  When we talk about laying down our lives or deferring to others, it is easy to imagine that being a Christian means being a doormat.  Mordecai adds another aspect to our view.

We learn in chapter two that Mordecai descended from Kish of the tribe of Benjamin.  Kish was King Saul’s father.  Haman was an Agagite (Esther 3:1).  Agag was the king God commanded Saul to kill, but Saul kept him alive for his own reasons.  Because Saul rejected the Lord’s word, the Lord rejected him as king (1 Sam. 15:20-23).  

When Mordecai refuses to bow, he redeems Saul’s failure in some measure.  Still, by not bowing, Mordecai disobeyed the king’s command and risked execution.  Once again, we see someone setting aside their own will for Another’s, whatever the cost.  Outwardly, Esther and Mordecai’s actions are quite different.  But they are moved by the same spirit which says, “Not my will but yours be done.”  

To be clear, Mordecai isn’t rebelling against King Ahasuerus as much as he is submitting to God.  If our motive is just to “stick it to the man,” we are not walking with Christ at all.  But if our motive is to lay down our lives to God, that is what moved Jesus, the Lamb of God.  The cross was the premier example of His Lamb-motive.  But Jesus was no less the Lamb of God when He braided a whip and drove moneychangers from the temple; He was no less the Lamb of God when He told the Pharisees they were of their father the devil.

It is important we don’t define “not my will” by outward appearances.  Christ set His will aside at all times, whether feeding people, calling Capernaum faithless, being silent before Pilate, or getting angry (Mark 3:5).  What marks the truly Christian life is conducting ourselves as living sacrifices, laid down to the will of God, whatever that might be (Rom. 12:1).

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