After three days of prayerful fasting, “Esther dressed in her royal clothing and stood in the inner courtyard of the palace facing it. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the royal courtroom, facing its entrance. As soon as the king saw Queen Esther standing in the courtyard, she gained favor with him. The king extended the gold scepter in his hand toward Esther, and she approached and touched the tip of the scepter” (Esther 5:1–2). Mercifully, Xerxes invited Queen Esther into his presence and asked, “What is it, Queen Esther? … Whatever you want, even to half the kingdom, will be given to you” (Esther 5:3).
Esther’s saving strategy was taking shape. “If I have found favor in the eyes of the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and perform my request, may the king and Haman come to the banquet I will prepare for them” (Esther 5:8).
Excited, ecstatic, elated, Haman skipped out of the palace! He couldn’t imagine his good fortune! The Queen had invited him to a private dinner… just the King, the Queen, and Haman! Oh, what incomparable joy! He swelled with pride!
On his way home, Haman passed through crowds of citizens that bowed before his royal highness. Everyone bowed, except one. Mordecai. “That insubordinate Jew didn’t bow!” Immediately Haman’s smile turned upside-down! Red-hot, all-consuming hatred burned in Haman’s heart.
At home, Haman, fussed, pouted, and complained. “His wife Zeresh and all his friends told him, ‘Have them build a gallows seventy-five feet tall. Ask the king in the morning to hang Mordecai on it. Then go to the banquet with the king and enjoy yourself.’ The advice pleased Haman, so he had the gallows constructed” (Esther 5:14).
“A gallows seventy-five feet tall” seemed to be the ideal tool for his vengeance, a remedy for Haman’s hatred!
A Roman cross wasn’t seventy-five feet tall, but the pharisaical Religious Ruler’s hatred of Jesus was comparable to Haman’s hatred of Mordecai.
Flip thorough the Gospel of John and see evidence of the Pharisee’s murderous anger, abhorrence, and animosity of Jesus. “The Jews began trying all the more to kill (Jesus)” (John 5:18). “Jesus… did not want to travel in Judea because the Jews were trying to kill him” (John 7:1). Although He knew their hearts, Jesus asked the Pharisees, “Why are you trying to kill me?” (John 7:19). “Some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, ‘Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill?’ ” (John 7:25). “I know you are descendants of Abraham, but you are trying to kill me because my word has no place among you” (John 8:37). “You are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth” (John 8:40). At one point, they were so infuriated that “they picked up stones to throw at him” (John 8:59). After Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave, “they plotted to kill (Jesus)” (John 11:53). And, as you know, they succeeded. “They crucified Him!” (John 19:18).
Even so, “God so loved the world…” (even the Pharisees) and “greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 3:16; 15:13, NKJV).