JESUS CELEBRATED PURIM
Esther 9:22. Day of Celebration.
Esther 9:20 And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both nigh and far,
21 To stablish this among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly,
22 As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.
God acted because the Messianic line had already gone to Jerusalem in the person of Zerubbabel.
In the synagogues, the Scroll of Esther is read out in its entirety. This is a noisy reading, because every time the name of Haman is read out,
the synagogue resounds with cries of cries of “Cursed be Haman!” andthe rattling of groggers and stomping of feet.
And every time the name of Mordechai is read out, the room resounds with “Blessed be Mordechai!”
There is also a fancy dress party and perhaps a skit involving the main characters in the story..
We don’t know how much of this was part of the celebration in Jesus’ time, but what we do know is that Jesus celebrated Purim
Consider the Biblical evidence.
In John 5:1 there is mention of an Unnamed Feast.
John 5:1 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Which feast was it?
For a clue, we look at John 6:4.
John 6:3 And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples.
4 And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.
In the time after the original Passover, when the Jews were in the wilderness, God rained Manna from heaven, as food for the nation.
This time, as Passover approached, Jesus was teaching a great multitude that gathered and we read in the account that Jesus multiplied bread to feed the people.
John 6:5 When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?
6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.
7 Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.
8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him,
9 There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?
10 And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.
12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.
13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.
So, with Passover approaching, Jesus performed a miracle appropriate to Passover.
We now return to Luke 5, and note that the Unknown Feast fell on Shabbat.
John 5:16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.
The only feast on Shabbat between AD 25 and AD 35 was Purim, AD 28.
Some may object that Purim was not a Feast of the Lord, but a minor Festival..The point of the argument being that Jesus is unlikely to have observed a minor feast.
In answer, consider John 10:22-23.
John 10:22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.
23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.
The Hebrew for “the dedication” is Hanukkah.
That demolishes the argument that Jesus wouldn’t have celebrated a “minor Feast”
Also notice that while Purim is mandated in Esther which is part of the canon of the Bible, Hanukkah is commanded in an apocryphal book.
If Jesus observed Hanukkah, how much more would He have observed Purim.
Just as the name of God or even the word “God” is nowhere mentioned in the book of Esther, but we are left to deduce that Mordecai was referring to God when Mordecai said that that the Jews would be delivered, if not by Esther’s intervention, then in some other way,
Esther 4:13 Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews.
14 For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
In just the same way, we are left to deduce that the UnNamed Feast of John 5 verse 1 was Purim. And how approriate, a hidden name in relation to both the Feast in Luke 5, and to God in the Book of Esther! Purim in hidden form in Luke’s account, just as the Name of God does occur in hidden form
in the book of Esther
How did Jesus observe Purim? He probably attended the reading of the scroll of Esther.
And He gave gifts to the poor. He healed a poor cripple! John 5:1-9.
John 5:1 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?
7 The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.
8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
The pool of Bethesda (Beth Hesed in Hebrew) was not a Jewish shrine, but a healing shrine to Aesculapius, the Greek god of medicine!
In its shadow, lay a man crippled 38 years!
Who is God? Jesus or Aesculapius?
Susa Jews worshiped Babylonian and Persian gods.
In fact, the name Mordechai is derived from Marduk a heathen god; and. Esther from Ishtar, a pagan goddess.
38 years was the number of years the Jews were in the desert after Kadesh Barnea.
Thus the crippled man was a picture of Israel. But there was a poignant contrast here: The crippled man believed. The Leaders of Israel did not.
John 5:10 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.
On the original Purim, God preserved His unbelieving people!
Why do I say “unbeleving”?
Because Mordechai was still in Susa on Nissan 13, the 13th day of the first month.
Esther 3:12 – 4:1.
Esther 3:12 Then were the king’s scribes called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and there was written according to all that Haman had commanded unto the king’s lieutenants, and to the governors that were over every province, and to the rulers of every people of every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language; in the name of king Ahasuerus was it written, and sealed with the king’s ring.
13 And the letters were sent by posts into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.
14 The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province was published unto all people, that they should be ready against that day.
15 The posts went out, being hastened by the king’s commandment, and the decree was given in Shushan the palace. And the king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city Shushan was perplexed.
Esther 4:1 When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry;
Yes, Esther and Mordechai were both out of God’s will.
“Flee the Chaldeans” God had said (Isaiah. 48:20,21; 52:7-12; Deuteronomy. 28:64-67)
Isaiah 48:20 Go ye forth of Babylon, flee ye from the Chaldeans, with a voice of singing declare ye, tell this, utter it even to the end of the earth; say ye, The LORD hath redeemed his servant Jacob.
Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!
8 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.
9 Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
11 Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD.
12 For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward.
Deuteronomy 28:64 And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.
65 And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind:
66 And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life:
67 In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.
Cyrus, the king God raised as prophesied by Isaiah, to return the Jews from exile, so they could build the Temple anew, had already decreed for Jews to return to Zion (Ezra 1:1-4)
Isaiah 44:28 That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.
Isaiah 45:1 Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;
2 Chronicles 36:22 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,
23 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.
Ezra 1:1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,
Ezra 1:2 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
3 Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.
4 And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.
Ezra 1:7 Also Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the house of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and had put them in the house of his gods;
Cyrus had already made the proclamation. Yet Mordecai and Esther stayed in Persia.
Esther, Mordecai and other Jews fasted but didn’t pray!
Esther 4:14 For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
15 Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer,
16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.
17 So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.
God acted because the Messianic line had already gone to Jerusalem in the person of Zerubbabel one of those from whom Messiah would descend..
Luke 3:27 Which was the son of Joanna, which was the son of Rhesa, which was the son of Zorobabel, which was the son of Salathiel, which was the son of Neri,
When Mordechai was still in Susa on Nissan 13, the 13th day of the first month, he was out of the will of God.
From all the miracles Jesus performed, John includes only seven in his Gospel (besides 7 “I Am” statements and 7 teachings).
Out of the Lord’s 3 ½ year ministry, John focused on only 21 days, devoting 10 chapters to the last week and a third of the 879 verses to one day.
Usually, when He encountered a group of people, Jesus healed all the sick among them, regardless of His personal plans.
But at the Pool of Bethesda, where the place was littered with the sick and handicapped and where one sweep of the Lord’s hand could have taken care of everyone, John mentioned only one man being healed.
And that one was one who didn’t approach Him. Jesus made the initial contact after learning something about the man. He asked “Do you want to get well?” .
That was the man’s story. Being crippled, he couldn’t get to the Pool in time to be healed. Someone else always got there first. Since he couldn’t get in first, he needed someone to heal him right where he was.
And he never asked Jesus to heal him … didn’t even know with whom he was speaking. Yet Jesus told just him to pick up his bed and walk.
This happened on the Sabbath, so by carrying his mat he drew the attention of the priests who told him it was illegal. The ex-cripple said he was obeying the man who healed him but he couldn’t tell them who the man was. Why did Jesus cause a situation that created this stir?
Later Jesus found him again and told him to “sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” Was that a warning?
The man had been an invalid for 38 years. The only other time the phrase thirty-eight years appears in the Bible is in Deut. 2:14 describing the length of time the Jews had spent in the wilderness where they received the Law.
This little hint tells us the cripple by the pool represented Israel in their own crippled state.
Because the Jews (like all of us) were sinners, they couldn’t keep the Law to be saved. If they could have kept the Law they wouldn’t have needed saving. Since they couldn’t keep the Law, they needed someone to save them just as they were
Beth-esda means House of Mercy.
Like the cripple, the people of Israel needed someone to show them mercy in their hopeless condition. The Lord showed His mercy to the cripple and offered to do the same for Israel.
Though Jesus came to the pool specifically to heal this one cripple, the man didn’t recognize his Healer and didn’t know with whom he was speaking.
Though Jesus came to Earth specifically to save Israel (Matt. 15:24), they didn’t recognize their Savior and didn’t know with whom they were speaking. “If you’re the Christ,” they said, “then tell us” (Luke 22:67).
Jesus told the healed cripple to stop sinning lest something worse should happen.
He couldn’t have been speaking generally because He knew that if man could stop sinning altogether, he could save himself and wouldn’t need a Savior.
So He must have had a specific sin in mind. He was telling the man to stop committing that one specific sin.
By working to keep the Law to save themselves, the Israelites were committing one specific sin: relying on their own righteousness, which is itself a sin. The Law was never meant to be a means of salvation, but to reveal the need for a Savior (Romans 3:20)
In warning the cripple, He was also telling Israel to stop committing the sin of self-
righteousness lest something worse should happen. And because Israel refused, something worse did happen:
In the Lord’s time on Earth, Israel was subordinate to Rome, but still existed as a nation. But in AD 70 after the crucifixion Jerusalem was destroyed and soon after that Israel ceased to exist altogether … till God restored them as a nation in 1948, and gave Jerusalem back to them in 1967
So it looks as if this one crippled man was chosen to send a message to Israel, joining the Lord in acting out a parable.
The Word was not only to Israel.
There are many lessons for us.
Which of us has not claimed to be our own Savior at some point in our lives? … being proud in our self-righteousness?
Each of us is in the same situation as the cripple, helpless to save ourselves and therefore hopelessly lost.
We are doomed to carry our sins to the grave unless God extends His mercy.
We must stop boasting to God, or each other,
“See how holy I am!”
We must stop thinking that to ourselves, or thinking “After all that I have done for God and His Kingdom, I deserve a special reward at the Judgment Seat of Messiah.
We must stop trying to pay our way into His blessings, thinking we will earn it by how much we give.
“Acts 8:20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.”
We must stop thinking, as many churches do and teach, that Messiah has abandoned Israel and his kinsmen the Jewish people.
There are churches that speak out against Israel and try to appease the Arabs.
There are churches that teach Replacement Theology.
These churches are at odds with the God of Israel
The Scriptures clearly teach us that we have been grafted on to the Olive Tree of Israel.
Romans 11:17 … and thou, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
19 … The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.
Romans 11:23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.
Romans 11:24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree?
Let us keep on praying for Israel!
Let us keep on informing ourselves about Israel!
David Silver’s news-letter
Pray Psalm 122
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem and Israel