Salvation requires celebration. In the storyline of the book of Esther we have seen salvation for Mordecai both spiritually and physically. We have seen the Jews, as a people group, saved from death. As the book of Esther closes in 9:20-10:3, the Jews are having a party. The celebration of Purim was established as a commemoration of God’s deliverance of them from the wicked hand of Haman.
Celebration is part of our culture as well. We have Thanksgiving, birthdays, July 4th, Veterans Day and other holidays. At Christmas we celebrate the coming of Jesus. At Easter we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. These kinds of celebrations are important because they help us remember the past as we lean into the future. This is also why the local church gathers on Sunday. We cannot afford to forget what God has done. When we forget we will wither spiritually. Holidays are holy days. You can learn a lot about a person by observing what he celebrates and what he does not celebrate.
Celebrations in church are good as long as it is about Jesus. If it is not about Jesus then it loses its value. We can have the outward forms but not the inward joys. Our celebrations should remind us of what God has done for us in Jesus. Remember, God became a man, lived without sin, died for our sins, rose as our Savior, indwelt us with His Holy Spirit and gave us a new nature. Jesus has gone before us. He is the King of kings. He is the Lord of lords. He loves us. He knows us. He seeks us. He serves us. He has prepared a place for us in heaven. Now, that is worth a party!
We are also reminded from the closing verses of Esther that “this ain’t heaven.” Forgive my grammar, but it is true. The Jews were not celebrating in Esther 9-10 because they had a new king. No, Xerxes was still in charge. In 10:1 we see that Xerxes had even added a tax on the people. Yet, the Jews were still celebrating. Why? Because they have another King and they are part of a better kingdom! If this world and its trappings are more important to us, then we are going to have a hard time celebrating.
We come to the end of the book of Esther and we find a wonderfully, glorious picture … God’s wisdom and timing have come to fruition. Mordecai has gone from obscurity and exile to “second only to king Ahasuerus” (10:3). He had his world turned upside down when Esther was taken into the king’s harem. His worst nightmare came true when his mortal enemy, Haman, was promoted and had the king approve a death sentence for all of the Jews. He and the Jews came within hours of having their lives snuffed out by the wicked man, Haman.
What a glorious picture of the gospel! According to the Scriptures, we are all sinners who deserve eternal separation from God and eternal damnation for our sins. None of us is good. None of us is righteous on our own. None of us deserves grace, but God in His love has chosen to act on our behalf and sacrifice His Son, Jesus, to pay the ransom penalty for our sins. He who knew no sin became sin so that we might become the righteousness of God. And that is worthy of a party!