Die Hard. Die Hard is one of my absolute favorite Christmas movies. You might be thinking, What?! How does that remotely qualify? There’s no claymation, no reindeer, and certainly no little drummer boy.
I get it. It’s not a Christmas movie in the classic sense, but it does take place at Christmas time AND it has a happy ending. It’s Christmassy enough for me.
In case you’re not familiar, the entire film is focused on an elaborate hostage situation in one of LA’s largest skyscrapers. Hans Grubber and his crew of German terrorists have taken an entire corporation hostage. Their desires are unclear at first, but the viewer is immediately aware that these are some unsavory fellows.
Only one man stands in their way—a no-nonsense NYPD cop named John McClane.
Early in the film, one of the more sleazy businessmen attempts to intercede for all of his colleagues before the German terrorists (I say “sleazy” because his arrogance and presumption are unmasked rather quickly). Not surprisingly, his plan to smooth-talk the terrorists derails.
Gutsy move. False motives. Fatal mistake.
There are some similarities (and some massive differences) between Die Hard and the book of Esther. Similar in how Esther stands between the people and a cruel power. Different in Esther’s motives and attitude.
Esther and her people, the Jews, were living under foreign rule. While the King was mostly benevolent, his right hand man, Haman, was far from it. Haman spent most of the book plotting against the Jews and, particularly, Esther’s uncle Mordecai. Haman’s plans were far from amicable, and Esther knew it.
She had a choice to make. She could either lay low and save her own skin, or she could risk it all by revealing Haman’s evil plans to the king. To us this might seem like a no-brainer, but for Esther, it was certainly a risky move. To approach the King without invitation was a big taboo. In fact, in terms of culture and custom, Esther was clearly risking her life for the sake of the people (unlike the sleazy, mostly spineless businessman who sought his own gain).
Even though it is clear that the King had a soft spot for Esther, courage and selflessness were certainly required. She risked her status, her comfort, her safety, and even her life to intercede for the people of God.
When we observe the life of Christ, were are able to see the way that He perfectly fulfilled Esther’s mission. Esther is certainly to be acknowledged and emulated, but Christ’s risk was far greater; and, therefore, His reward far more perfect and complete.
Where Esther stayed the hand of an evil adversary, Christ completely defeated our ultimate adversary, the one who speaks against us in every moment. Esther risked her life to save the Jews. Jesus gave His life to save the world. Where Esther risked being tossed from an earthly palace, Christ intentionally gave up a heavenly one. He willingly left the bliss of an eternal palace to enter our broken, banged-up and dying world.
We can be deeply grateful for the example of Esther: she stood with courage when cowardice would’ve been far easier. We can be in awe of Christ: He stepped down from on high when He didn’t have to. Love, grace, and mercy are inherited through His completion of the role Esther temporarily embodied. He is our perfect advocate, against whom no adversary can stand.
Not even Hans Gruber.
Written by Andrew Stoddard