Last Sunday our messianic Jewish congregation celebrated Purim, a minor holiday also known as the Feast of Esther. It was an especially nice celebration: two of our youth group alumni co-directed an original play about Esther, written in a humorous vein. The play was a smashing success, as good -- in my unbiased opinion -- as any of our local high school productions. Weeks of hearing my twelve-year-old daughter complain about the frantic, packed schedule and the tyrannical teenage director paid off when she was part of the highly acclaimed (in our congregational community) production. After the play, we did what is right and proper for any Jewish holiday, taking to heart the adage: “They tried to kill us. We won. Let’s eat!” So we feasted. Our small upstate New York city is rich in Italian heritage and so a plethora of Italian cooks pitched in and created a wonderful feast: pizza, baked ziti, meatballs, chicken riggies, tomato pie, salad, and of course the required hamantaschen, a triangular-shaped fruit-filled cookie baked to resemble the hat of the evil villain from the Book of Esther: Haman.
Amid all the jokes and revelry of the play, a central theme emerged: for such a time as this. For such a time as this was the original Queen Esther put into position so as to save the Jewish people through the risking of her own, seemingly but not really, secure position. It’s a theme handed down again and again in Scripture, for what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his soul? Who had more than the queen of what was then the greatest kingdom on earth? Who had more to lose? If she had kept her mouth shut about her Jewish identity and her people had been destroyed, would she really have been safe? Is it ever wise to throw God’s people under the bus (or in this case, the chariot) to save our own skin? What do we win?
There have been numerous times in history when Christians have had the decision put before them as to whether or not to protect the Jewish people, the most recent being the Shoah (Holocaust). Those who turned away will hear Yeshua say, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” (Matthew 25:45) But those who act as Queen Esther did will shine as stars in the sky, hearing the joyous words of the Lord when He says, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)
The days are quickly approaching when we will need to be like Queen Esther. What will you do?