Wednesday, March 27, 2024

You Can't have Easter Without Purim

 By Naomi Craig

Stamp of Moldova - 2016 - Colnect 610525 - Jesus Enters Jerusalem, Wikimedia

This past weekend was the celebration of Palm Sunday, the common remembrance of when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. His disciples and followers spread their cloaks, waved palm branches before Jesus and and proclaimed Jesus as the long awaited Messiah. This event kicked off Holy Week and lead to the cross, Jesus died the brutal death of a sinner--even though He was without sin-- fulfilling the requirement of death for the payment of sins once and for all. Jesus took your place and mine, paying for our sins, past present and future, and conquering death by resurrecting on the third day (Easter Sunday). Because of His forgiveness, we can have that relationship with God for eternity and also for the here and now.

Did you know that this past weekend was also the celebration of  Purim?

The Feast of Esther by Johannes Spilberg the Younger, Wikkimedia

Though it is a more obscure holiday that most Christian churches don't celebrate, without Purim, there would be no Resurrection Sunday.

My family attended a church on vacation and the service was similar to how Jewish synagogues celebrate Purim. If you haven't been it's quite the experience! The book of Esther is read in its entirety at night and the next morning and it's rather like a melodrama. You cheer for the Hero (Mordechai), you 'awww' for the Heroine (Esther) and boo, stomp your feet, and rattle your grogger every time the Villain is mentioned (Haman). Traditionally, children dress up like their favorite character, and there are snacks! 

Homemade hamantaschen, wikimedia

(The church served Hamantaschen -- Haman's Ear-- cookies after😋) The whole time i was remembering scenes from the Biblical Fiction movie, One Night with the King (2006)

One Night with the King Theatrical Movie Poster, Wikipedia

I'm sure the story of Esther (awww) is as familiar to you as the story of Easter, but the pastor brought up a couple of points I hadn't considered.

If Haman (boo! stomp, rattle) had succeeded in destroying the Jews, it wouldn't have just been the area around the Persian capitol, Susa/ Shushan, it would have been as far reaching as the entire Persian Empire. From India to Ethiopia (Esther 1:1) including the province of Israel. At this point in history, a large portion of the Jews had returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the temple under Ezra and Nehemiah.

ALL Jews would have been wiped out if Esther (aww) hadn't risked her life by going uninvited to the King's presence. Not just those in the out-lying Persian areas as I uneducatedly assumed. 

Pastor Rob brought to light that since the devil's curse in the Garden of Eden, he knew the Messiah would come from the line of the Jews. he did his best attempt to stop that from happening.  

Satan is not all-knowing or ever-present like God, so he didn't know the when. 

King Herod killing off the baby boys? the devil trying to stop the Messiah's ministry before it started.

Killing Jesus on the cross? Let's stop this rescue-from-sin-plan from happening. Except that is exactly what the recue plan was.  

So then what about Hitler's massacre of the Jews in WWII? The Bible says God will bless those who bless [Jews]. If the Jews are annihilated, then the outgoing blessing in the world is no longer.

From the beginning of the world, Satan has been doing all he can to destroy our relationship with God and the blessings that come from knowing Him. From the beginning of the world, he has been failing, and sometimes even playing directly into God's plan.

Like Esther (awww), perhaps you were put in your situation, job, circle of influence for such a time as this. May we take seriously our commission and share the Light with a dark world.

Light comes from the dark, wikimedia

This Sunday as you celebrate Jesus' resurrection, remember that there is NOTHING that can stop God's plan from happening. 

If you are in a dark spot, remember, it was dark and bleak Friday, but a lot can happen in three days!

Sunday is coming!

Old statue of Jesus on a cross near Zminj in Croatia, Wikimedia

 Have you read or watched any Esther stories or Retellings?

And Their Numbers Grew
Four Lives. Four Destinies. One Gospel

Rumors of the risen Christ spread like wildfire. Stephen’s brutal stoning accelerates the persecution and sends the faithful fleeing Jerusalem.

While an outraged Saul sets out to arrest them all, the followers press on fervently, with the help of the Holy Spirit—though it may cost them their lives.

Author of Biblical fiction, avid reader, and pastor's wife, Naomi loves reading the Bible and imagining how things were at the time. When she’s not serving in various areas at church or trying to stay on top of mountains of dishes, you'll most likely find her enjoying a good book and a cup of coffee. Naomi is the founder of Biblical Fiction Aficionados Community on Facebook and co-hosts #BehindTheStory on YouTube. When not writing or trying to wrangle social media, Naomi attempts to get her rescue dogs to be cute on command for the many pics she takes throughout the day.


  1. Thank you for posting today. This was very interesting, and I might just read through Esther again. And I have not seen any movies about Esther.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I've heard of Purim, but it sounds like such a fun and informative experience for you. And the cookies looked delicious.