Happy Purim, Readers. Besides reading the book of Esther, I find myself returning each Purim to Beth Immanuel’s “Haman’s Gallows” sermon that brings us through the events with notes from Esther Rabbah. Some people get nervous about Jewish commentary; “Haman’s Gallows” brings to light the comments that might be of interest to lovers of Jesus.
It’s a good example of the idea, source forgotten, that if you ask an observant non-believing Jewish person about Jesus, he will (unknowingly) provide twenty biblical reasons to believe Jesus is the Messiah. Judaism has a theology of the Messiah. We see it in John 1:19-51, notably in the question “Why are you baptizing if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” (1.25). In the Gospel accounts, there are disputes based on the Scriptures–left of Matthew–about whether or not Jesus fits the promises about the Messiah. The ideas are already there. As a Christian, had I heard “Haman’s Gallows” without knowing the source of the commentary, I’d think for sure it was written by people who, from a perspective of hindsight after the crucifixion, were meticulously and creatively reading the book of Esther for what it tells us about Jesus.
I don’t want to spoil it for those who have the thirty-three minutes to listen to it, but I will say this: though we celebrate Purim in Adar, the reversal actually happens during a different holiday season. It’s worth knowing which holiday. It’s worth the time to think about the hidden face of God in times of great distress, the exile, and the price that has been paid for the final redemption, may it come speedily within our days.
I linked to it above, but to save you a scroll back there, here is the link to “Haman’s Gallows.”