Weekend Extra – The Gift of the Gospel

September 6, 2010 at 5:15 am 1 comment

In the book of Esther, the good queen Esther foils a plot by the evil Haman to exterminate the Jews after Haman becomes enraged when one Jew in particular, Mordecai, refuses to bow down and pay him homage.  Being an egomaniac, Mordecai’s insult infuriates Haman so much that “he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai. Instead Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes” (Esther 3:6).  When Mordecai learns of Haman’s nefarious intentions, he calls Esther, a relative of his and also a Jewess, and pleads with her to go entreat the king for the lives of the Jews.  But Esther knows that such a request cannot be made without peril:

All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that he be put to death. The only exception to this is for the king to extend the gold scepter to him and spare his life. (Esther 4:11)

To approach the king, Esther’s will have to put her life on the line.  But with great courage, Esther approaches the king uninvited:

Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter. Then the king asked, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you.” (Esther 5:1-3)

With the king’s words, Esther can take comfort in the fact that her life is no longer in danger.  For the king has spared her life and has even offered to grant her request, whatever it may be.  “It will be given you,” the king says.  The story finds its happy ending when Esther requests a banquet with Haman and the king only to foil Haman’s plot against the Jews.  Providentially, the king was willing to give Esther her banquet which she leveraged to save her people.

“It will be given you.”  These are not only the words of a king.  These are also the words of the gospel.  For the gospel is a gift.  Jesus promises:  “Ask and it will be given to you” (Matthew 7:7).  And the greatest gift that Jesus has given to humanity, of course, is His own death and resurrection.  For this gift brings our salvation.

In our reading from this past weekend from Revelation 19, we catch a breathtaking glimpse of the end of time when Satan is finally conquered the Church is wed to Christ once and for all.  The song of praise at this wedding is beautiful:

Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Revelation 19:6-8)

A Church once stained by the sin and depravity of her people is now arrayed in “fine linen, bright and clean.”  How does she obtain such linen?  It is “given her to wear.”  Even at the end of time, God’s gospel goes on.  The church does not earn her linens, nor does she merit them; rather, they are given to her.

Just as the bride of the king was given life by an extended gold scepter, the bride of Christ is given life by His arms, extended on a cross.  And when Jesus extends His arms on a cross, He does so with a promise on His lips:  “It will be given you!  Forgiveness will be given you!  Life will be given you!  Salvation will be given you!  Fine linen of holiness, unsoiled by sin will be given you!  It will be given you!”  This is why, on the Last Day, when the wedding of the Lamb of God to His Church finally arrives, we will be stained no more by sin.  For Christ will have given us all we need – even perfection into eternity.  It will be given you. What a gift!

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Entry filed under: ABC Extra. Tags: , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Rev. Kevin Jennings  |  September 6, 2010 at 8:35 am

    Hi, Zach!

    Even though the book of Esther never mentions the name of God, as I often tell Bible classes, God’s finger prints are all over it.

    Thus, Esther is Gospel as He delivers His people. And, dare I say, even Esther may be a type of Christ? She is the one who intercedes, holding up herself on behalf of God’s people.

    God bless!


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