Happy Easter! Or as Christians say in gatherings today, with a bit of call and response: “Christ is risen. He is risen indeed.” Here’s the home stretch.
Whilst there may well be a xylophone used at some point in The Bible, I thought it was worth returning to someone who got a mention on Friday: Xerxes, King of Persia.
That title sounds a lot grander than how I usually think of him: as The Bible’s winner of the bloke-who-thinks-with-his-pants award.
We left Xerxes on Friday Queen-less and looking like an alcohol infused sex addict. Now, whilst there was probably also some political motivation behind his partying, his reputation doesn’t really improve as the account of his behaviour in The Bible continues.
Now finding himself wifeless, what’s a bloke to do? Get himself a harem, of course!
That way he can find out which one of the beauties shags the best, because in Xerxes mind (his nether regions) that’s top grade wife material. Dumb.
Not too long after this, a nobleman called Haman is elevated in the Persian court because Xerxes is rather pleased with him. This creates a problem pretty quickly, because Haman turns out to be Exhibit A in anti-Semitism and asks Xerxes to issue a decree to destroy ‘a certain group of people’.
Xerxes gives Haman his signet ring, which means he can do whatever he wants. Dumber.
So an edict is sent out to all the king’s provinces that there is a set day on which all the Jews are to be killed. This of course leaves everyone bewildered and God’s people in a crisis situation. Meanwhile, Xerxes sits down in the palace with Haman and knocks back a beer or two (of course). All seems lost.
But God moves in mysterious ways my friends.
Because during Xerxes’ bonk-a-thon, the best bang he got was with a woman called Esther, so he made her Queen. Esther’s a foreigner in Persia, so that’s not her only name. Her other name was Hadassah which is – you guessed it – Jewish.
So basically, Esther/Hadassah has the clock ticking while she has to undo the stupidity of her pea-brain husband who just about gets her and all the Jews in Persia slaughtered. Idiot.
Fortunately she succeeds.
One thing I like about Jesus’ close bunch of twelve followers (aka the disciples or apostles), is that they’re presented in The Bible warts and all. It gives you a lot of hope in your own faith walk.
Take the time that Jesus has just fed four thousand people with seven loaves of bread and a few small fish (ie a miracle). Then along come some Pharisees and Sadducees demanding Jesus give them a sign from heaven (like, duh… he just gave you one).
You’ll remember the Pharisees weren’t on great terms with Jesus. With the Sadducees, another religious group, it was much the same. Among other things, the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection, so it’s somewhat bizarre that they’re getting a mention in an Easter Sunday post.
Next, Jesus and the twelve head across the lake and the disciples forget to take the bread:
Jesus said to them, “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” They [the twelve] discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.”
As an English teacher I just want sidle up alongside them and say “Psst… it’s figurative language.”
Jesus is not saying don’t use any yeast from these religious dudes’ supermarkets in your bread baking. He’s saying don’t listen to their teaching, because they aren’t on the same page as me. And even just a little bit of yeast changes the bread entirely. So, watch out.
Mount Zion, technically.
This is where the city of Jerusalem first was and also where King David had a palace and where his son, Solomon built the temple. So Zion means Jerusalem.
Zion is where all Christians believe they are headed because it’s also one of those spiritual code words using some symbolism. Christians believe they are heading to ‘the new Jerusalem’ or heaven. Take for example a passage in the last book of The Bible, namely, Revelation:
Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144, 000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.
If you remember previous slang posts, you can probably guess that ‘the Lamb’ means Jesus.
As a side note, this Bible passage is the reason why Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that there will be literally 144, 000 people in heaven. Because I’m not a Jehovah’s Witness, I take it as a symbolic number.
Obviously as an English teacher, I’m more inclined to talk about words and symbolism, but perhaps I’ve just realised what I should blog about next week. However….
This post completes the A-Z of Jesus Slang. Congratulations for making it to the end of the alphabet this Easter Sunday.
If you’re the type who likes to worship with music, here’s a modern Easter morning hymn.
Regardless, feel free to enjoy some chocolate today on my behalf 🙂 .
Yours in egg eating,