Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king's house…
I. THE SCEPTRE IN THE HANDS OF CHRIST. We read that He is "head over all things," and more than this, "head over all things to the Church." He holds that sceptre for them — for their protection — for their highest and best interests. Christ is on the throne! The steps which lead to that throne ought to assure us what He is, now that He is there. The Cross best explains Christ. His character in all its transparency and purity, its glory and beauty, fitted Him to reign over all. But we want more than a righteous King; more than a true King! Love must be on the throne which is to sway the hearts of men, and "herein is love."
II. IN ALL APPEALS TO HIM WE TOUCH THAT SCEPTRE.
1. When we touch that sceptre, we prove that we believe His Word. It is certain that actions bespeak faith more than words. Do we believe in Christ's purposes of mercy? Do we believe that all the vice, misery, wrong, around us, Christ desires to do away with? that it grieves His heart more than it ever can ours? We must believe this in the light of His Incarnation, coming into this world as He did to seek and to save that which was lost. When we touch His sceptre, we proclaim our belief in His mercy, we come to the King as those who know that He is the same Saviour that walked this world, and went about doing good, and preached deliverance to the captives everywhere.
2. When we touch that sceptre, we bespeak its aid; we imply confidence in its power. We manifest cur consciousness that there is a greater power than that of evil: that Jesus must and will reign. It were sad to live were it otherwise. We who know Christ for ourselves, have confidence in His ability to realise the ideal of the Inspired Word, "Godliness is profitable for all things: having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come."
3. When we touch that sceptre, we imply our oneness of spirit with Him. Many would like to touch other sceptres, and turn their purposes of success into golden achievements. See how men wait on others. But Christ's purposes are moral and spiritual purposes. His kingdom is not meat and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; and we say by our touch of His sceptre, "Master, we do desire this end; deliver our people from slavery, from the plots of our Hamans, from the desires which would destroy their peace of mind, hinder their happiness, and harm their souls hereafter. Oh! King Jesus, we are one with Thee!"
4. When we touch that sceptre, we imply that Christ loves us. We love Him, and He loves us. We know that the fact of His love to us will make our petitions powerful before Him.
III. THE SCEPTRE MAY BE TOUCHED BY THE HUMBLEST HAND. Yes; and it often is. Poor and humble saints, weak and afflicted saints, that can do little else, can pray. Not through door-keepers, and past stately sentinels, do we reach the Royal Pavilion! No! Esther goes straight in to the king. So may we! The privilege of prayer itself is not more wonderful than the freeness of it. The Heavenly Royalty needs no poor pageantry of outward state. You can touch that sceptre. You can come in, and be face to face with the King.
IV. THIS SCEPTRE IS NOT SWAYED BY US, BUT TOUCHED BY US. Esther touched it! And then the king said unto her, "What wilt thou, Esther?" And thus it is with us. It pleased the king to grant her widest request. But still it was the king's will. And so it is with us. I would ask this question: Who would dare to touch the sceptre, if the touch was to turn to swaying it? Not I! Not you! No; you know enough of life to wish at all events its government taken out of your hands. We touch the sceptre, but we do not take it. No. That moment an awful consciousness would come over us, and we should flee from mountain to city, to be absolved from the responsibility. We might seem to benefit ourselves, but whom might we not harm? We might seem to gain a transitory good, but what beneficent laws of the universe, working for the common good, might we not endanger? It is a comfortable thing to be able to cast all our care upon Christ.
V. IN SWAYING THAT SCEPTRE CHRIST CAN OVERCOME ALL THE DESIGNS OF OUR ENEMIES. The danger seemed great to the company of Jews in the Persian empire, but in one brief hour the darkening cloud had disappeared, and Esther had "come to the kingdom for such a time as this."
(W. M. Statham.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king's house, over against the king's house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house.
WEB: Now it happened on the third day that Esther put on her royal clothing, and stood in the inner court of the king's house, next to the king's house. The king sat on his royal throne in the royal house, next to the entrance of the house.