Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2015
Texts: Esther 1-10; 1 Corinthians 9:19-23; John 4:1-26; Acts 17:26; Matthew 22:21; Romans 1:18-20
Recently, a young Jewish woman may have been responsible for saving a group of people. The woman, whose name has not been released, boarded an aircraft in Israel that was headed for New York via Moscow. She took her window seat and sat listening to the sounds from the engine. As she did so, something caught her attention. She felt that the noises were not the typical, familiar noises.
Beginning with the passengers around her, she mentioned the unfamiliar engine sounds. Finding no other passengers who also detected the sound, she approached a flight attendant. Her concern was met with assurance that all was well. Not to give up so easily, she removed her seat belt and stood, adamant that something was wrong. This action brought threats from the flight crew and ridicule from the passengers. Finally, the ground crew began to check the aircraft. Minutes turned into hours and eventually into overnight with the passengers being told the flight was delayed and they might as well go home until the next day. The mechanics ultimately found that the Boeing 767 had an issue that could have potentially caused problems or even disaster for those on board.
Upon returning the next day, passengers expressed gratitude to the young woman rather than the scorn from the day before. A young Jewish woman had stood up against others and quite possibly saved their lives.1
In our Sabbath School lesson this week, Esther places herself in a perilous position to save her people. We read a story which includes all of the suspense and intrigue of a best-seller. Or if one prefers the princess genre, it is here as well. A common girl becomes queen. Genocide, another theme common throughout history that has become all too familiar in our world, is a component of this story as well.
But more important than movie plots, literature themes, or even a reflection of current events, we encounter the story of how God worked in the lives of two ordinary people to save Israel. Two Jewish people, living in Persia because of exile, were responsible for saving the Jews in that country by listening to God’s leading, by acting bravely, and by being creative. It might have been easier, more comfortable, for Esther to continue living her life of simplicity. It might have been easier for Mordecai to protect her in the life that they knew. As missionaries in the land of Persia, both Mordecai and Esther took some big steps, moved outside of their immediate surroundings or comfort zone, and saved the Jews.
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