“Then Zeresh his wife and all his friends said to him, ‘Have a tree fifty cubits high made and in the morning ask the king to have Mordecai hanged on it; then go joyfully with the king to the banquet.’ And the advice pleased Haman, so he had the tree made. During that night the king could not sleep….” (Esth 5:14-6:1a).

As I child, I watched in horror as the lion Aslan died at the hands of the wicked White Witch upon the stone table. I did not expect that the dreaded stone table (C. S. Lewis’ symbol for the cross) was the place where all the White Witch’s evil plans would begin to be undone. Similarly, the “cross” prepared for Mordecai is the very place where Haman’s evil plans against the Jewish people began unraveling. The first half of the book of Esther records a series of increasingly troubling chain of events for Esther and her people (1:1-5:14). As if reflected in a mirror, each and every tragic circumstance is undone and miraculously reversed in the second half of the book (Esth 6:12-10:3). The king’s sleepless night and royal treatment of Mordecai stands at the center of the book, wherein the chain of events against the Jewish people starts to completely unravel (Esth 6:1-13). The very last word in the first half of the book in the original Hebrew is “tree” (translated “gallows”). It not only is the absolute lowest point in the story, it happens to be the same word used in the New Testament for the “cross” (see Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; Gal 3:13; see Deut 21:23). The strategic location of Mordecai’s “cross,” followed by the public humiliation of Haman (Esth 6:11), is a reminder of the strategic place of Yeshua’s cross in the redemptive plan of God, the place where Jesus turned the tides of sin and death and publicly humiliated the world’s greatest enemy! ”

When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him” (Col 2:13-15).

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