Plot Twist \ plät twist\ noun : an unexpected and surprising development in a book, film, television program, (or Bible story).

If you are an avid movie goer, chances are that you have watched a movie with a surprising or unexpected turn of events during the movie or near its ending. I am still shocked and tickled at the ending that happened in the movie The Sting starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Who knew (warning; spoiler alert!) that when both were shot dead at the end, that it was staged and was an elaborate con to steal $500,000 from a ruthless mobster!

Or, how about the movie The Empire Strikes Back? The surprising and fall-off-your-seat plot twist happens during a lightsaber duel between Luke Skywalker, the rebel-hero of the movie, and Darth Vader, the ultimate villain of the Empire. Vader severs Luke’s right hand, movies_popcorn-431x300disarming him, and corners him over the air shaft. Luke Skywalker is defeated by Vader, but the Dark Lord’s most powerful blow is delivered with words. There are few lines as misquoted as “No, I am your father” in movie history nor are there any scenes that completely changed the way you look at the film you just watched as well as the previous film in the franchise. The entire STAR WARS saga hinges on those five words which forever changed the world of movies. This is one of the greatest plot twists of all time.

Chapter 20 of The Story is chocked full of plot twists. If this was a movie, you would need smelling salts to revive you from fainting spells due to shock. Here are some of the surprising turns of events. Haman, the ultimate villain of this story, convinces Xerxes, King of Persia to write an irrevocable edict to have to have all the Jews murdered on a certain date. In the meantime, Xerxes throws a big party then summons his queen to show up and be displayed. The queen refuses. The queen is “fired” by Xerxes. Xerxes has the first ever “Bachelor Contest,” thousands of years before ABC made it into a popular TV program. Esther, an orphan and a young and beautiful Jewish woman, is picked to be the next queen. Mordecai, an older cousin of Esther’s and the one who had adopted her when she was very young, gets wind of the plot hatched by Haman to have all the Jews annihilated. Mordecai implores Esther to approach the King Xerxes and to somehow intervene on the behalf of her countrymen, the Hebrew people. But here is a problem. No one approaches the king without being summoned or risk being put immediately to death. Mordecai delivers these six powerful words to Esther saying that the amazing circumstances in which she finds herself happened “for such a time is this.” The entire future of the Jewish people hinged on those six words and would forever change history.

The Sting was hugely successful at the 46th Academy Awards, being nominated for 10 Oscars and winning seven, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay. The Academy gave credit where credit was due. Now speaking of giving credit to where credit is due, here is a plot twist. God is not mentioned once in the story of Esther…More to come this Sunday morning! Don’t forget to spring ahead!

Jesse Mabanglo , Associate Pastor