Tuesday, November 12, 2013
the simultaneous, contradictory, impossible, miraculous cross
The Word for today:
Esther 5, 6
mark this: Esther 5:2 --
When the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, she obtained favor in his sight; and the king extended to Esther the golden scepter which was in his hand. So Esther came near and touched the top of the scepter.
The book of Esther presents an astonishingly clear picture of our salvation through Jesus Christ. Let's see why…
First, let's look at King Xerxes' first decree, in Esther chapter 3:13--
All Jews – young and old, including women and children – must be killed, slaughtered, and annihilated on a single day.
This was scheduled to happen nearly a year later on March 7.
Now, let's look at Xerxes' second decree, in Esther 8:11, 12--
Jews in every city are authorized to unite to defend their lives; to kill, slaughter, and annihilate anyone who might attack them or their children and wives.
The day chosen for this event was March 7 of the next year.
These laws contradict each other! And not only that, but these contradictory laws must be fulfilled on the same day, simultaneously! That's why they provide one of the best pictures of salvation in the Bible.
In the Persian Empire, once the King made a decree, it could not be revoked--even by the King himself.
In the same way, God's decrees in the Bible cannot be revoked without compromising the character of God--making God out to be a liar.
Therefore both of the following decrees must be followed to the letter:
"The soul that sins shall die." (Ezekiel 18:4)
"By grace you have been saved through faith." (Ephesians 2:8)
Seems impossible, but God found the Way! He came to this earth himself, and he took upon himself our sins.
And so--on the cross, on the very same day--God judged sin (fulfilling Ezekiel 18:4, above) and he saved the souls of those who place their faith in him (fulfilling Ephesians 2:8, above).
The only way he could overcome the Law was to fulfill the law, paying the penalty to the last penny. Thus the Law was not abrogated, and it is not abrogated today.
As a result of Jesus' substitutionary death, God can hold out to each person the sceptre of grace. All we have to do is receive it:
When the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, she obtained favor in his sight; and the king extended to Esther the golden scepter which was in his hand. So Esther came near and touched the top of the scepter. (Esther 5:2)