Pastoral Commentary for Ezra 6:19-8:14
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie
The culmination of the temple's dedication was the celebration of the Passover. The Passover looked forward to the gift of the Messiah, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. What a gift of God's grace it was that His people were able to return to the Promised Land and rebuild the temple, so that they could once again prepare their hearts for the promised Savior. God would not fail to keep His promises, and so His people were able to share in the Feast of Unleavened Bread once again. About 50 years after the temple was rebuilt, God sent Ezra from Babylon to Jerusalem, to rebuild the faith and character of His people. Ezra was a teacher of the Law and God chose Him to lead the moral rebuilding of the nation of Israel. Ezra's journey of four months was supported by a decree of King Artaxerxes, granting him gold and silver, many supplies, as well as the leaders of God's people to accompany him for His journey, and for the rebuilding of Jerusalem. The opening verses of Chapter 8 include a list of the heads of families who were with Ezra when he returned to Jerusalem. Over 1000 men were numbered in this group. For all of this, Ezra praised God saying: "Blessed be the Lord, the God of our fathers, who put such a thing as this into the heart of the king." God is always at work among the nations to accomplish His purpose for the salvation of mankind.