Introduction: After Haman’s execution, the Jews still faced a genocidal decree that called for the total annihilation of every man, woman, and child. Xerxes professed his inability to change the law. But God found a way through His servants Esther and Mordecai. Through His protection of the Jews, Jesus reveals seven blessings that He offers believers. These include: (1) grace, (2) advocacy for you, (3) mercy, (4) a new covenant, (5) honor, (6) joy, and (7) universal salvation.
First, God rewarded both Esther and Mordecai with blessings that neither deserved. He gave Esther Haman’s estate and Mordecai his former position. Jesus also offers grace to believers through undeserved blessings. Second, God prepared Xerxes’ heart to hear Esther’s grieving petition for the Jews when grief was not normally allowed inside the royal court. But Xerxes did nothing further to help her. In contrast, Jesus is your Advocate who hears and acts upon faith-based intercessory prayers. Third, Xerxes was unable to grant the Jews mercy from their judgment under Persian law. In contrast, Jesus offers believers mercy from judgment under His law through His atoning death. Fourth, with powers that Haman once enjoyed, Mordecai issued a new royal decree that gave the Jews the opportunity to escape death. Jesus has also issued a new royal decree, the New Testament, that offers an escape from death under the law. Fifth, Mordecai received honor before the people because he showed faith and humility as God’s servant. Jesus will also provide honor to believers when they act with faith and humility as His servant. Sixth, the Bible declares that the Jews became a light and a beacon of joy to others. Jesus is the light of the world and the source of your joy. He offers you the chance to shine as His light and His beacon of joy to others. Finally, because of the Jews’ light, many gentiles accepted Yahweh as their God. Jesus also offers the opportunity of universal salvation for Jews and gentiles. He wants you to be His witness by evangelizing others and making them disciples.
Esther inherits Haman’s estate, and Mordecai takes his position. For their faith, God used Xerxes to reward Esther with Haman’s estate and Mordecai with Haman’s position: “1 On that day King Ahasuerus gave the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews, to Queen Esther; and Mordecai came before the king, because Esther had disclosed what he was to her. 2 Then the king took off his signet ring, which he had taken away from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.” (Esther 8:1-2). Haman boasted of his considerable wealth (Esther 5:11). Solomon also acquired incredible wealth, power, and respect (Ecc. 2:4). Yet, he later lamented that his actions were wasted vanity. “I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind. What is crooked cannot be straightened and what is lacking cannot be counted.” (Ecc. 1:14-15). In an attempt to apply Persian justice, Xerxes gave Esther all of Haman’s wealth for his crimes against her and her people. According to the historians Herodotus and Josephus, “Persian law gave the state the power to confiscate the property of those who had been condemned as criminals (cf. Herodotus 3.128-29; Jos. Antiq. XI, 17 [i.3].”1 Mordecai was Esther’s older first cousin, who raised her following the death of her parents (Esther 2:5-7). Mordecai had previously encouraged Esther to conceal her Jewish identity from Xerxes (Esther 2:10, 20). After having admitted to her Jewish heritage to Xerxes (Esther 7:3-4), Esther also revealed her relationship to Mordecai (Esther 8:1). Xerxes had just honored Mordecai for saving his life years earlier (Esther 2:21-22; 6:10-11). He now received the additional honor of becoming the second most powerful person in the Persian empire.
Xerxes honored Mordecai and made him the second most powerful official in Persia2
God showed Esther grace as a reward for her faith. Esther showed incredible faith when she exposed Haman’s crimes (Esther 7:2-6). But God’s reward of Haman’s estate was an act of underserved grace. First, under Persian law, the property of an alleged traitor went to the king, not the victim. Second, Esther and Mordecai both failed to return to the Promised Land when King Cyrus I issued a decree in 538 B.C. that gave the Jewish captives in Babylon the right to return to Jerusalem (Ezra 1:1-4; 5:13-17). Third, Esther dropped her Jewish name “Hadasseh” and went by the Persian name of “Esther.” Her new name reflected her worldly ways before God transformed her into a hero of the faith. Fourth, she concealed her identity to increase her chances of marrying a pagan when God prohibited such marriages (Dt. 7:3). Fifth, she could not have observed the Jewish dietary laws while trying to conceal her Jewish identity in the Persian court (Lev. 11). Sixth, out of concern for herself, she initially refused Mordecai’s request that she plead for the Jewish people (Esther 4:10-13). Finally, she failed to show Haman mercy when he pleaded with her for forgiveness (Esther 7:7-10). Thus, God acted out of grace.
God also showed Mordecai grace by rewarding him for his faith. When the Jews faced certain death and Esther initially refused to plead for her people, Mordecai expressed faith that God would provide a way to save the Jews (Esther 4:14). God first rewarded Mordecai for his faith by having Haman publicly proclaim him throughout Susa, the capital of Persia (Esther 6:10-11). Here, God rewarded Mordecai by influencing Xerxes’ heart to give Mordecai the position of power that once belonged to Haman (Esther 8:2). Haman’s original promotion was an injustice. Mordecai exposed the plot to murder Xerxes. But he originally received no reward (Esther 2:21-23). In contrast, Haman did nothing to receive Xerxes’ signet ring and his promotion (Esther 3:1-2). Haman was first introduced as “the enemy of the Jews.” (Esther 3:10). After Haman had manipulated Xerxes to unknowingly order the queen’s death, Esther publicly exposed him as both “a foe and an enemy . ..’” (Esther 7:6). Here, Haman was again labeled “the enemy of the Jews” (Esther 8:1). God corrected the prior injustice by giving Mordecai Haman’s position. This was comparable to when God had Pharaoh put his signet ring on Joseph after the injustice that Joseph experienced (Gen. 41:42). Yet, this was an act of grace, not something that Mordecai deserved. Normally, a king picks as his second most powerful leader a person with political connections throughout the kingdom to ensure loyalty and a willingness of the subjects to sacrifice for the king. Mordecai was not a natural choice because had no known political connections. He also had committed a crime under Persian law by refusing to obey Haman’s order that he bow before him (Esther 3:2-4). Unless a nation’s laws violate God’s law, believers are required to obey them (Ro. 13:1-2). Thus, Mordecai’s promotion was through God’s undeserved grace.
Jesus also offers grace through underserved blessings. Jesus’ blessings are also based upon grace. There is nothing that you can do to earn eternal salvation or His blessings. In the first four books of the Bible, God reveals at least 21 specific blessings for those who are faithful and obedient to Him. These blessings are all undeserved acts of grace. In Exodus, God revealed at least three conditional blessings that come from faithful obedience. These include: (1) protection from diseases (Ex. 15:26); a prolonged life (Ex. 20:12; Dt. 5:16, 32-33; 4:40; 6:1-2; 12:28; 22:6-7; 25:13-16; Lev. 18:5; Eph. 6:2-3); and (3) God’s holy presence (Ex. 40:34-35). In Leviticus, God revealed seven other conditional blessings that He may use to bless a faithful person or nation. These include: (1) provision (Lev. 26:3-5); (2) peace (Lev. 26:6); (3) protection (Lev. 26:7-8; Ex. 23:22); (4) fertility (Lev. 26:9); (5) abundance from giving (Lev. 26:10; Ps. 92:12-14; Mal. 3:10-12); (6) guidance (Lev. 26:11-12; Ps. 32:8); and (7) freedom (Lev. 26:13; Ex. 20:2). In Deuteronomy, He revealed 10 other conditional blessings. These include: (1) exaltation for the nation (Dt. 28:1-2); (2) exaltation for the individual within the nation (Dt. 28:1-3); (3) growth (Dt. 28:4); (4) food (Dt. 28:5); (5) success (Dt. 28:6); (6) the defeat of your enemies (Dt. 28:7); (7) prosperity (Dt. 28:8); (8) holiness (Dt. 28:9); (9) respect (Dt. 28:10); and (10) the fullness of God’s blessings (Dt. 28:11-14). Finally, in the books of the law from Exodus through Deuteronomy, God reveals the blessing of forgiveness through the blood sacrifices (Lev. 17:11; Heb. 9:22). Jesus became the final one-time sacrifice to fulfill the Old Testament sacrificial laws (Heb. 10:12). The only act of obedience required to receive this blessing today is to believe that He died for your sins and that He is both your Lord and Savior (Ro. 10:13; Acts 2:21; Jo. 3:16; 1 Jo. 1:9). How are you thanking Jesus for the undeserved blessings that He offers you?
Esther’s plea for mercy and grace under the law. Being blessed with Haman’s estate did nothing to save the Jews from Haman’s order. Thus, even though it was forbidden to show grief in the court before a Persian king, Esther cried before Xerxes to save the Jews: “3 Then Esther spoke again to the king, fell at his feet, wept, and pleaded for his compassion to avert the evil scheme of Haman the Agagite and his plot which he had devised against the Jews. 4 And the king extended the golden scepter to Esther. So Esther got up and stood before the king. 5 Then she said, ‘If it pleases the king and if I have found favor before him, and the matter seems proper to the king and I am pleasing in his sight, let it be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to eliminate the Jews who are in all the king’s provinces. 6 For how can I endure to see the disaster which will happen to my people, and how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred?’” (Esther 8:3-6). Esther’s reason for needing grace was not the same as before when she appeared without an invitation (Esther 4:11). Xerxes extended his scepter only after she cried (Esther 8:4). Here, Esther risked death by showing grief in the royal court, which was prohibited under Persia law (cf., Neh. 2:1-2). Under God’s influence, Xerxes’ previously extended the scepter of grace to Esther (Esther 5:2). Under God’s influence, he did so again. Haman’s decree called for the Persians “to annihilate, kill, and destroy all the Jews, both young and old, women and children, . . .” (Esther 3:13). Esther petitioned Xerxes for this decree to be revoked. But Xerxes could not change the law. The Jews’ salvation could not come under the law. Nor could it come through worldly leaders, like Xerxes.
Esther pled for King Xerxes to show the Jews mercy under Persian law3
Esther petitioned in humility but still could not obtain relief. This was the third time that Esther approached Xerxes in humility. When she first approached Xerxes, she petitioned him in humility to come to a banquet (Esther 5:4). At the first banquet, she again spoke to him in humility (Esther 5:8). At the second banquet, she also pleaded in humility (Esther 7:3-4). Yet, even though he loved Esther, Xerxes could not change Persian law.
Jesus as your Advocate will both hear and respond to faith-based prayers. While Xerxes heard Esther’s petition he was either unable or unwilling to do anything further. Esther was the only advocate for the Jews. Like Esther, Jesus is your advocate who will plead on your behalf. Unlike Xerxes, He will act upon faith-based prayers: “And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;” (1 Jo. 2:1b). “Christ Jesus . . . also intercedes for us.” (Ro. 8:34). “Therefore He is also able to save forever those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Heb. 7:25). “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” (1 Jo. 5:14). “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matt. 7:7-8). Like Esther, will you plead for others to find Jesus’ mercy and grace?
Xerxes’ failure to show the Jews grace. Xerxes told Esther that he could not help to save the Jews. He stated that it was up to her and Mordecai to come up with an alternative: “7 So King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, ‘Behold, I have given the house of Haman to Esther, and they have hanged him on the wooden gallows because he had reached out with his hand against the Jews. 8 Now you write to the Jews as you see fit, in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s signet ring; for a decree which is written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s signet ring may not be revoked.’” (Esther 8:7-8). Once a Persian king issued an edict, it could not be changed (cf., Esther 1:19; Dan. 6:8, 15). Thus, Xerxes washed his hands of the planned genocide that he helped to authorize. He believed that he had solved the problem by giving Esther money and Mordecai power. Thus, he advised that it was up to them to find a solution.
Sin separated everyone from God. The Jews were under judgment, and Xerxes saw himself as without the ability to intervene. Sin has also separated everyone from God, and people lack the ability to be reconciled with Him through their own attempts to be righteous: “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God . . .” (Is. 59:2(a)). God has looked down from heaven and observed that not one person is holy and without sin: “[I]t is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.”’ (Rom. 3:10-11). “[T]here is no one who does good.” (Ps. 14:1; 53:1). “Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.” (Ps. 143:2). “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 Jo. 1:8). If people could get to heaven because of their good works or righteousness, “then Christ died needlessly.” (Gal. 2:21b).
The penalty for our sins is death, and everyone is in need of God’s mercy. No one should take sin lightly because sin cannot be in God’s presence: “for our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12:29; 10:27; Ex. 24:17; Dt. 4:24; 9:3; Ps. 97:3; Is. 33:14; 2 Thess. 1:7). There is also nothing hidden before God when judgment comes (Ecc. 12:14). And the penalty for sin is death: “For the wages of sin is death, . . .” (Rom. 6:23). “Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die.” (Ezek. 18:4). Thus, all should appreciate their need for God’s mercy.
Through Jesus, believers can obtain mercy from judgment. While Xerxes was unable or unwilling to do anything to show mercy to the Jews, Jesus offers mercy through His death at the cross. We can give thanks that the King of Kings shows mercy. “Who is a God like You, who pardons wrongdoing And passes over a rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy.” (Micah 7:18). Through Jesus, you sons can be both forgiven and forgotten: “I alone, am the one who wipes out your wrongdoings for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” (Is. 43:25; Heb. 8:12). To show thanks for your mercy, be merciful to others.
Mordecai’s new decree to save the Jews. With his God-given power, Mordecai issued a new decree that gave the Jews the chance for salvation from judgment under the law: “9 So the king’s scribes were summoned at that time in the third month (that is, the month Sivan), on the twenty-third day; and it was written in accordance with everything that Mordecai commanded the Jews, the satraps, the governors, and the officials of the provinces which extended from India to Cush, 127 provinces, to every province according to its script, and to every people according to their language, as well as to the Jews according to their script and their language. 10 He wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus, and sealed it with the king’s signet ring, and sent letters by couriers on horses, riding on royal relay horses, offspring of racing mares. 11 In the letters the king granted the Jews who were in each and every city the right to assemble and to defend their lives, to destroy, kill, and eliminate the entire army of any people or province which was going to attack them, including children and women, and to plunder their spoils, 12 on one day in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month (that is, the month Adar). 13 A copy of the edict to be issued as law in each and every province was published to all the peoples, so that the Jews would be ready for this day to avenge themselves on their enemies. 14 The couriers, hurrying and speeded by the king’s command, left, riding on the royal relay horses; and the decree was issued at the citadel in Susa.” (Esther 8:9-14). It was highly usual for Persian subjects to be able to arm themselves. Mordecai’s decree was the reverse of Haman’s decree. Anyone who attacked the Jews could be killed. Moreover, their property would be seized as traitors.
Mordecai signed a decree giving the Jews the right to defend themselves4
Jesus also came to offer a new decree without destroying the law. Just as Mordecai had to offer an alternative without destroying the original law, Jesus also offers an alternative to the law without destroying it: “Do not presume that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.” (Matt. 5:17; Rom. 3:31). Instead of nullifying your judgment under the law, Jesus took your judgement upon Himself: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21). “God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.” (Rom. 3:25). “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, . . .” (Gal. 3:13). ‘“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,’ [Christ] said to them.” (Mk. 14:24; see also, 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 2:24; Isaiah 53:4-5, 10, 12); “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” (Heb. 10:14). “Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood.” (Rev. 1:5). If God was willing to accept the sacrifice of animals on our behalf, we have no reason to doubt Christ’s ability to atone for even the worst sinners: “how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb. 9:14). If you are thankful for the forgiveness that you have received at the cross, you show it by being thankful and forgiving others.
Jesus is the only door leading to God in heaven. Mordecai’s new decree offered only one path for the Jews to be saved. Jesus is also the only path to find salvation: “So Jesus said to them again, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.”’ (Jo. 10:7). “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” (Jo. 10:9). According to Jesus, the road leading to heaven is also narrow: “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matt. 7:14). “A highway will be there, a roadway, and it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, but it will be for him who walks that way, and fools will not wander on it.” (Is. 35:8). There is simply no other way to find salvation without Christ’s atoning blood. “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” (1 Tim. 2:5). “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). If you are thankful for the sacrifice that Jesus made on your behalf, make yourself a living sacrifice for Him (Ro. 12:1-2).
Deliver Jesus’ message with urgency. Mordecai sent his new decree with great urgency across the Persian empire: “14 The couriers, hurrying and speeded by the king’s command, left, riding on the royal relay horses; . . .” (Esther 8:14). Believers should also spread the message of the New Testament with great urgency: “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I tell you, raise your eyes and observe the fields, that they are white for harvest.” (Jo. 4:35). “There was an urgency to get the word out about this important decree of the king. Christians should show a similar urgency when it comes to being heralds of the decree that the justice of God has been satisfied for us in Jesus Christ.” (David Guzik on Esther 8).5 Are you acting with urgency to share the good news with your family, friends, and others?
Mordecai was honored and celebrated amongst the people. In addition to receiving Xerxes’ honor in becoming the second most powerful leader, the people also praised Mordecai: “15 Then Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in a royal robe of violet and white, with a large crown of gold and a garment of fine linen and purple; and the city of Susa shouted and rejoiced.” (Esther 8:15). God took away Mordecai’s reproach. Because he acted with faith and humility, he received honor and respect.
God can bless a faithful nation or individual with honor and respect. When a nation or individual acts with faith-led obedience, God can also bless the nation or individual with honor and respect. “1 Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 2 All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the Lord your God:” (Dt. 28:1-2). “He will set you high above all nations which He has made, for praise, fame, and honor; and that you shall be a consecrated people to the LORD your God, as He has spoken.” (Dt. 26:19). When David was obedient to God, God blessed his entire kingdom by exalting it above the nations: “And David realized that the LORD had established him as king over Israel, and that his kingdom was highly exalted, for the sake of His people Israel.” (1 Chron. 14:2). As a result of the obedience that came from his faith, God also turned Abraham’s descendants into a great nation: “And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing.” (Gen. 12:2).
God’s victory over evil will bring joy to the righteous. Mordecai’s honor and Haman’s death brought joy to the Jews and the righteous: “When things go well for the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish, there is joyful shouting.” (Prov. 11:10). “When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when a wicked person rules, people groan.” (Prov. 29:2). “When the righteous triumph, there is great glory, but when the wicked rise, people hide themselves.” (Prov. 28:12). “Light is sown like seed for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.” (Ps. 97:11). “The righteous person will be glad in the LORD and take refuge in Him; and all the upright in heart will boast.” (Ps. 64:10). “But rejoice, all who take refuge in You, sing for joy forever! And may You shelter them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You.” (Ps. 5:11). “My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to You; and my soul, which You have redeemed.” (Ps. 71:23). Are you thankful that the battle over Satan is already guaranteed?
God restored the Jews’ light, joy, and honor. Before any battle began, the Jews celebrated the light of hope that God gave the Jews through Mordecai’s new decree: “16 For the Jews there was light, joy, jubilation, and honor.” (Esther 8:16). After Haman announced Xerxes’ order for the Jews’ genocide, Mordecai and the Jews mourned their planned annihilation (Esther 4:1-3). Now, they celebrated in faith the victory that God had planned for them. “Mordecai wrote an edict of life for the Jews whereas Haman had written an edict of death for the Jews.”6
God allowed the Jews to experience joy7
Jesus’ light brings joy. The psalmist proclaimed that God’s light brings those with an upright heart joy: “Light is sown like seed for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.” (Ps. 97:11). “Light shines in the darkness for the upright; He is gracious, compassionate, and righteous.” (Ps. 112:4). “The LORD is God, and He has given us light; . . ..” (Ps. 118:27a). “For You light my lamp; the LORD my God illumines my darkness.” (Ps. 18:28). If you are lacking joy, pray for Jesus to fill you with the good news of His victory over any evil in your life.
Fellowship with Jesus brings joy. Jesus offers you an abundant life: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (Jo. 10:10). The abundant life that He offers includes the peace and joy that only the Holy Spirit can provide: “the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Ro. 14:17). “[I]n Your presence is fullness of joy;” (Ps. 16:11; 21:6). Joy is also a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22; Ro. 14:17; 15:13). Living your faith and walking with Jesus also involves sharing the joy of the Spirit: “ . . . I rejoice and share my joy with you.” (Phil. 2:17(b)). “Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” (Phil. 2:2). When you suffer setbacks, do you feel the joy of the Spirit? If not, you may have fallen out of fellowship through unrepentant sin in your walk.
The importance of grateful praise in maintaining fellowship. Being grateful for Jesus’ sacrifice for you on the cross is an important way to keep yourself free from returning to your sin. This in turn helps to maintain your fellowship with Jesus. If you don’t care about His sacrifice or if you don’t internalize the price He paid for you, you are more likely to backslide into sin. Thus, offer constant praise and thanks to Jesus for His sacrifice: “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” (Heb. 13:15). As our example, David regularly thanked God through songs of praise (e.g., Ps. 18:49; 26:7; 30:4, 12; 50:14; 69:30; 75:1; 79:13; 92:1; 95:2; 97:12; 100:4; 106:1; 107:1, 8; 116:17; 118:1; 119:62; 140:13; 147:7). Being grateful should not be limited to the times when things turn out right for you. Your gratefulness should also include the stressful times when adversity strikes. You can always give thanks because God is in control. Are you giving thanks for all of God’s blessings in both the good times and during your trials?
Gentiles accept Yahweh as their Lord and Savior. The combination of the joyous witness of the Jews and the fear of judgment under the new decree caused many gentiles to become saved: “17 In each and every province and in each and every city, wherever the king’s commandment and his decree arrived, there was joy and jubilation for the Jews, a feast and a holiday. And many among the peoples of the land became Jews, because the dread of the Jews had fallen on them.” (Esther 8:17). The Jews were a witness to the gentiles. Many gentiles feared Yahweh. Some were even willing to become converts.
The Jews gathered together in joy and observed a feast to thank God8
The Jews were meant to share their light with the gentiles. Many incorrectly believe that evangelism is exclusively a Christian duty. Isaiah made clear that the Jews were also meant to be a light to the gentiles: “He says, ‘It is too small a thing that you should be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the protected ones of Israel; I will also make you a light of the nations so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”’ (Is. 49:6). “I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You, and I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations,” (Is. 42:6). “For so the Lord has commanded us, ‘I have placed you as a light for the gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the end of the Earth.’” (Acts 13:47 Lk. 2:32). The Jews were meant to show His love by sharing God’s Word.
Jesus comes to offer salvation to the Jews and gentiles. Jesus gladly gave His life so that all (even His enemies) might live: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Ro. 5:8). “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” (Jo. 10:11). “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (Jo. 3:16). His blood is the symbol and proof of His covenant. “And He said to them, ‘This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.’” (Mk. 14:24; Lk. 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25; Jer. 31:31). What Jesus offers is also free (Ro. 6:26). It only requires faith that He died on the cross for your sins.
Jesus wants you to share His light to evangelize the lost. Jesus is the Light of the World (Jo. 8:12). Today, believers are to represent His light (Matt. 5:14). Jesus wants you to share His light by publicly confessing your faith and agreement to the New Covenant (Ro. 10:8-9). If you confess Jesus to be Lord and Savior before others, He in turn will confess you in heaven: “And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God;” (Lk. 12:8; Matt. 10:32). Are you sharing the good news of the Gospel with others? (Matt. 28:16-20).
Joyful worship helps to evangelize the lost. The Jews’ joyful witness helped to evangelize the lost: “Declare with the sound of joyful shouting, proclaim this, send it out to the end of the earth; . . .”’ (Is. 48:20b). Those who feel embarrassed to publicly worship fail to appreciate its role in evangelism. Worship should entice non-believers to experience the joy of the Holy Spirit. Is your worship a witness to the lost?
Many gentiles understood and feared God’s power. Many Persians also feared the unexplainable protection that the Jews seemed to enjoy. When a nation or individual acts with faith-based obedience, God can also bless the nation or individual with fear or respect from any enemy: “10 So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will be afraid of you.” (Dt. 28:10). When God was protecting His people, we see many examples of where other nations feared them. For example, Pharaoh feared God’s wrath when he almost took Abraham’s wife Sarah as his wife (Gen. 12:17-20). As another example, as the Jews prepared to invade the Promised Land, Rahab told Joshua’s two spies that the Canaanites feared the Jews and their God because God defeated Pharaoh’s army at the Red Sea and the armies of two different Amorite kings in Jordan (Josh. 2:10-11). After defeating the Amorites, the Jews traveled back to the plains of Moab where they stayed until God gave the word for Joshua to take them into the Promised Land (Nu. 22:1). There, the Moabites feared the Jews (Nu. 22:3-4). The kings of Canaan again feared the Jews and their God when they invaded. The Canaanites “heard how the LORD had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the sons of Israel until they had crossed, that their hearts melted, and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the sons of Israel.” (Josh. 5:1). “Then the chiefs of Edom were dismayed; the leaders of Moab, trembling grips them; all the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away. Terror and dread fall upon them; by the greatness of Your arm they are motionless as stone; until Your people pass over, O LORD, until the people pass over whom You have purchased.” (Ex. 15:15-16). All who oppose Israel are subject to the curse that God promised to Abraham (Gen. 12:3). Today, the nations around Israel again fear it because God has blessed it. God can also protect you from your enemies.