Jesus Is The True & Better Esther
Open Your Bible
Esther 5:1-8, Esther 7:1-10, Esther 8:1-8, Philippians 2:4-11
BY Annie Downs
Text: Esther 5:1-8, Esther 7:1-10, Esther 8:1-8, Philippians 2:4-11
I have this hope about when we get to heaven (which isn’t said ANYWHERE in Scripture so don’t hold me to this theology) that there will be some sort of movie theater where we can watch our favorite Bible stories.
I love the Bible, and I love all the tiny details we are given, but there’s so much more I want to see! The colors, the weather, the tones of voice and the sounds in the background. I want the full technicolor and surround-sound experience of these stories that we have known and read in the Word.
Like Noah and the ark. Seriously, how many animals was he able to fit in there? Or Jonah and the whale. I don’t particularly want to watch his extraction from the whale’s vantage point—but then again, I kinda do. And then there’s Jesus in the manger and when the wise men show up, and little Mary in her new role as mama to the King.
But one particular story I’ve always loved is that of Queen Esther. Well, just teen Esther to start, but Queen by the finish. When it comes to this story in particular, with the high drama and the fashion and the plot twists, I want to watch it like a movie.
At the start of chapter 5, we see Esther making a crazy-brave step—going to the king uninvited. She puts on her royal clothing, probably layered and heavy, bedazzled from top to bottom (which I would love). And then she does something unexpected: she enters a place where she is not necessarily welcomed.
I want to watch the movie of this real moment. I want to hear Esther’s dress swish across the stones as she walks. I want to see her pause before she turns the corner and take a deep breath. I want to see her make eye contact with the king.
I want to see the spread laid out on the table in Esther 7, the hot soups and the cold charcuterie, the goblets of wine and the fruit and floral arrangements. I can imagine leaning forward in my seat as the drama unfolds around that banqueting table, and Queen Esther says the thing that changes everything.
I want to see it all because that story at its moment in time saved the nation of Israel. It isn’t the first time we read about God saving His people, and it definitely wasn’t the last.
When I imagine seeing the story of Esther in this way, my mind turns to Jesus and what it would be like to watch the stories of Him from the Bible unfold on the heavenly movie screen. I have never juxtaposed the two, never stood them next to each other; but in today’s reading, when I see Esther and Jesus side-by-side, it makes me teary. Esther was showing us, long before the Gospels were written, that one person’s sacrifice and courage could save millions.
Esther gave up her life for a place, a palace, that was not her home.
Jesus gave up heaven for a broken place full of broken people who needed Him.
Esther risked her life to save the people of Israel from physical death.
Jesus gave His life to save us all from eternal death.
The word picture is enough to make my heart sing along with the beloved Christmas song:
“A thrill of hope a weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!”
I can only imagine the thrill of hope that passed through the Israelites’ homes when they heard their planned extinction was repealed by Esther’s courage. It’s the same thrill of hope we have in this season, knowing that Jesus’ courage in coming to Earth and going to the Cross has given us each a new and glorious and eternal morning, repealing after the darkness of our sin. Esther’s appeal to the king is a foreshadowing of Christ’s appeal to God the Father, offering His life in place of our own, rescuing us from certain destruction.
As the movie closes, we walk out of the theater, and the song continues as it should:
“Fall on your knees…”
Fall on your knees in thanks and in praise, with a new understanding of what Jesus did: He accomplished the true and eternal rescue of His people.