Sermon – March 21, 2021

Esther by Jean-François Portaels, ~1869

Esther 8:1-17 – The Gospel of Reversals (mp3)

St. Patrick, the great early missionary, and the man who helped to bring the gospel to the British Isles, is celebrated each year with a day dedicated to drinking and debauchery. How unfitting that is! But it is a good reminder to each of us that our influence and acts live on far after we die. In Esther 7, we reach the emotional climax of our story; yet, even so, there remains work to be done. In Esther 8, we get two major reversals: the first dealing with the enemy Haman, the second with his ungodly and sinful edict. In each of these reversals, we ought to be reminded of the nature of the gospel and the kind reversal that Jesus has secured for us!

1. The reversal in the fortune of the enemy
While chapter 6 gave us a look at a temporary reversal of fortune, chapter 8 completes the act. The great Haman, noticed and honored by all, is desecrated and dead on a pike; the lowly Mordecai, overlooked by everyone, is honored and revered by all in the kingdom. In fact, Mordecai receives honors above that which Haman ever received. Friends, we ought to remember that this is part of the gospel. That many who seem to be great will amount to little in the Kingdom, and many who seem small will be great. Strive, not for greatness in this world, but honor in the next.

2. The reversal in the power of the edict
The final piece of the puzzle is the reversing of the edict. To put the matter simply: it cannot be done. But Mordecai has a plan! With subtlety, he makes it known to the satraps, officials, and governors that the kingdom of Persia is for the Jews – that they are a favored people of those who wield power, and it is in the best interests of all to take that into account! While the edict of death, given to us in the garden, cannot be rolled back, it is clear that God has reversed the power of death. From a device of slavery and a punishment of sin, it now transforms us and frees us to be with Christ forever, and stands as the final stamp of our defeat of Satan. Through Jesus, the greatest enemy is now working for us. Praise be to such a great God!