Monday, March 4 2024 - 7:14 PM

Sharing Scripture — April 1, 2023

Jesus Wins – Satan Loses

 

For use: March 26 – April 1, 2023
Texts: Revelation 12; 13:14–17; Ephesians 5:25–27, 32; Philemon 3:9; Daniel 7:25; Isaiah 14:12–14

 

Easter pageants are right around the corner, but did you catch this year’s Purim spiel? It’s a comedic dramatization of the Book of Esther in which the villain Haman receives hisses and jeers, but the heroes Esther and Mordecai are met with applause and cheers.

The Jewish skit is relatable to any audience throughout the ages, playing on the all-too familiar tropes of tyrannical leadership, misogyny, racism, scapegoating, genocide, female empowerment and the blinding of gender roles (men can wear drag to this event). It would make the perfect Shakespearean play.

This whole satirical ensemble may seem more than a bit, well, irreverent, maybe even blasphemous … but God is never mentioned in the Book of Esther. God’s hand in the flip of fortune for the Jews and Haman is simply implied.

Esther’s story is one of the powers of Light versus the powers of darkness. Her people are faced with genocide, but by handfuls of irony, the persecutor is hanged on his own scaffold, and the Jews are saved!

Which is kind of the story of the whole Bible.

In fact, it’s kind of similar to the story of Jesus.

Like Esther, Jesus grew up poor and under a foreign government unfriendly to Jews. Like Esther, from a young age Jesus began training and studying for the day that a Kingdom would land on His shoulders. Like Esther, He too needed to reveal His true identity when challenging oppressive powers. And like Esther, He would save a people who, if not for His fearless self-sacrifice, would face certain death.

Esther’s story, even though it does not state it explicitly, is the story of how Satan (boo!) loses and Jesus (woohoo!) always wins.

 

For Reflection

 

Connecting: Review how Purim is often celebrated. Now read Psalm 100. From a religious perspective, has Purim gone too far, or is it simply a joyful noise to the Lord?

Sharing: If God is all-powerful, how do we explain the drawn-out conflicts mentioned in Daniel 10:12-13 and Revelation 12?

  1. God created Lucifer almost as powerful as the Godhead
  2. We assume these are physical battles but we cannot know for sure
  3. Who cares, Jesus always wins anyway
  4. With the exception of the Godhead and Michael, cosmic beings have fallible minds
  5. These are concepts our finite minds cannot understand, so warfare has been used as a parable
  6. Other:

Applying: Where in your life have you been called to be like Esther? Prayerfully consider how you can reveal God’s love to others, even when it must be expressed tacitly.

Valuing: The Three Angels of Revelation 14 instruct us for how to prepare for the last battle, which Jesus will of course win. What is your favorite of the Three Angels’ Messages of Revelation 14:6-13, and why?

 

~ Stefani Leeper

 

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