The King’s Honors

Esther is a weird book. God is never named. Mordecai and Esther seem to be  faithful Jews, but the way the story unfolds with joining a harem in order to become the new queen doesn’t exactly seem law abiding. But maybe God speaks through Esther too.

Mordecai had spoiled a plot to kill the king. His deed is written down in the Chronicles. One night, the king decides to read the Chronicles and is reminded of this act. What had been done to honor this man, Mordecai? Apparently nothing. Then Mordecai”/ enemy, Hanan comes to visit:

So Haman came in, and the king said to him, ‘What should be done to the man whom the king delights to honor?’ And Haman said to himself, ‘Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?’ And Haman said to the king, ‘For the man whom the king delights to honor, let royal robes be brought, which the king has worn, and the horse that the king has ridden, and on whose head a royal crown is set. And let the robes and the horse be handed over to one of the king’s most noble officials. Let them dress the man whom the king delights to honor, and let them lead him on the horse through the square of the city, proclaiming before him: “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.”’ Then the king said to Haman, ‘Hurry; take the robes and the horse, as you have said, and do so to Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Leave out nothing that you have mentioned.’ So Haman took the robes and the horse, and he dressed Mordecai and led him through the square of the city, proclaiming before him, ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.’ (Esther 6:6-11, ESV)

Haman thinks he is the one the king will honor but it is actually his enemy, Mordecai. And so Haman must honor Mordecai and proclaim this is what is done for the man the king wants to honor.  If we have ears to hear, being dressed might evoke larger resonances in Scripture:

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ He said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ He said to him a second time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ He said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.’ (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, ‘Follow me.’”

“Follow me.” The words that began it all. Follow me, Jesus says, and you Peter will be clothed by another, and crucified. “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Here is what it means to be honored by Jesus the King: to be crucified like Him.

God have mercy on our souls.

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