4 Reasons Why You Should Preach The Book of Esther:
1. God is Never Mentioned
In Esther, God is silent. God does not speak. No one hears from God. No one prays to God. There are no miracles, there are no prophets. No one even curses God’s name. Esther’s world is one where God seems distant at best or absent at worst. The experience of living in a God-less landscape is not too far from our present-day experience. Generally, we are not privileged to experience the miraculous daily, and our students wonder if prayer actually works. If we are honest, we doubt the goodness of a God who would allow terrorism; Esther faced a silent God in the face of genocide. How many students have asked you for evidence that God is near, or that he even cares? The book of Esther resonates with our experiences. The spiritual vista of Esther feels very familiar to our own lives, yet it is into this context that God is powerfully demonstrated. The book of Esther offers comforting sovereignty to lives where God seems far off.
2. There are No Role Models
There is built-in protection against moralism in Esther. No one comes away clean; there are no characters to look up to, there is no one about which to say “be more like…”. Xerxes rules his kingdom drunk; Esther compromises her beliefs and sleeps with a pagan king, and Mordecai watches as his daughter is taken into an idolater and adulterer’s bedroom. The lack of ‘people of character’ points us away from idolizing people and ‘good’ behavior and toward Christ. Esther leaves us asking: “Where is a better king than Xerxes? Where is a better savior than Esther? Who is a better father than Mordecai?” This book allows us to answer these questions with one resounding word: Christ.
3. It’s Really Hard to Preach
Too many youth ministers fall into a trap of delayed adolescence, shirking hard tasks in favor of reliability and funniness. As pastors to this generation we need to hold a higher standard for the authority of God’s word, the centrality of Christ, and a relentless pursuit of the gospel. Esther gives very few breaks to those committed to Christ-centered expositional preaching. Glue your machete to your palms: You will have to work hard to “beat a path to the cross.” Your students will notice your hard work and your dedication to the gospel even if they never say a word. If you can show them Jesus in Esther- and he is there- then kids will gain more of a confidence that all of the Bible points to and is drenched with Jesus and the gospel.
4. Jesus is Everywhere
Jesus is everywhere in the book of Esther. He is hidden, but anticipated. Every passage drips with dramatic and narrative tension as we wait for a rescuer. The situation is bleak, God seems dead, and his people have forgotten him. We long for a salvation that is better and more complete than the one enacted by Esther and Mordecai. The reader waits for a bolder mediator than Esther in the throne room of the king. We wait for a king who cares for his kingdom. We wait for a king whom we can boldly go before unafraid of his wrath in order to petition him with our needs. Finally, we are still in anticipation of the better celebration than that of Purim… the wedding supper of the Lamb. Preach the book of Esther, because no other book groans quite as deeply for the restoration and relationships offered by Christ.