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This devotion is part of the Jesse Tree Advent devotion series. 

Scripture reading: Esther 4

You can hear the resolve in Esther’s voice: “If I die, I die.” She’s not resigning herself to her fate; she’s facing it head on.

She has just learned from her cousin Mordecai that Haman is more than scheming to kill the Jewish people. Haman has convinced the king to issue a decree that authorizes the governors to kill all Jews, young and old, women and children, in one day.

When Esther hears of the decree, she evaluates the situation. She remembers the fate of Vashti, another headstrong queen. Is it worth it to visit the king, uninvited, to see if she can do something about the decree?

Esther would be risking her life to appear before King Ahasuerus. The rule is that if anyone enters the king’s inner court without being called, that person will be put to death. And Esther knows it. Since entering the king’s harem, she has lost virtually all of her agency. Her life is not in her hands.

And maybe that’s the whole point: her life belongs to the Lord. Maybe that’s what finally persuades her to risk death and go before the king.

Esther’s life belongs to one who likewise gave himself up to save his people. Jesus did more than risk death. He actually died. By virtue of our baptisms, we have, too, which frees us to take risks the way Esther did. We can look past our own security and make sacrifices for others. The risks we take may very well bring life for other people.

Prayer

Jesus Christ, you willingly went to the cross so that I could live. In baptism, I have died, too, so I no longer have to fear death. Help me take risks, whether big or small, for the sake of other people. Amen.

About the author

Grace Claus is resident theologian and editor for Faithward. She's also managing editor of RCA Today, the denominational magazine of the Reformed Church in America.