Ezra 6:13-18 – The Dedication

Read Ezra 6:13-18

At last, the temple was completed. The people had successfully fulfilled God’s vision and command with the help of three Persian kings. What an amazing feat!

Can you imagine the emotions that were flowing amongst the Israelite people? I imagine a sense of relief mingled with exhaustion and anticipation for all the ministry that would take place. The people had finally rebuilt the place where God could reside among them. Over these years, the people had stayed focused on their mission and not let the distractions get them off course.

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Ezra 5:6-17 – A Spy’s Report

Read Ezra 5:6-17

The saga of the temple’s construction continues. We met Tattenai, the provincial governor, in our last reading. Apparently, he is so troubled by seeing this temple rebuilt that he started interrogating the workers to find out who was in charge. After all, this is a building project he believes is under his jurisdiction, shouldn’t he be able to question it?

This governor seems to be more like an undercover spy looking for a scoop. He took the intel he received from the construction leaders and sent a letter to King Darius. I wonder what Tattenai is afraid of. Perhaps he’ll lose the favor of King Darius should there be a rebellion. Of course, it will take a while for Jerusalem to be rebuilt to its glory and power of the past.

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Ezra 5:1-5 – Questioning Your Motives

Read Ezra 5:1-5

I’ve reflected on the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah before in the book of the 12 Prophets. These prophets of God spoke encouragement to those charged with rebuilding the temple of the Lord. Haggai, especially, is a hidden gem filled with all sorts of encouragement we can apply today.

We’re seeing how this rebuilding project is getting a lot of attention from the enemies of God. But God ordained this work, so I’m confident he won’t let it fail.  In today’s reading, Tattenai, governor of the province Jerusalem is part of, attempts to distract the people so they question their motives. We can be thankful the people had prophets like Haggai and Zechariah to keep them grounded and devoted to God’s purpose.

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Mark 10:32-34 – A Third Time

Read Mark 10:32-34

Jesus gives his disciples a little more detail about what is going to happen to him. Jesus is doing his best to prepare them so that when the time comes, they aren’t blindsided or overtaken by fear.

What did you notice about this passion prediction? Jesus was walking ahead of them, leading the way to Jerusalem. I’m sure all of them knew the way, but the text lets us know that Jesus is out front. Jesus knows exactly what he is walking into when they get to Jerusalem, and this is his third attempt to get his followers to understand, too.

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Luke 22:63-23:55 – Guilty or Not Guilty?

Read Luke 22:63-23:55

Reading about Jesus’ final hours can be an emotional encounter, especially when we put ourselves in the scene. We’ve been walking with Jesus to the cross, and today we arrive. Seeing it dramatized is also a very powerful way to remember. I’ll never forget the car ride home in silence after our family watched Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ” when it first came out in theatres.

Sometimes we want to rush ahead to what happens next, but the first disciples didn’t know this was only the beginning of the miracle of all miracles. Let’s stay where we are in this moment, seeing our Savior’s sacrifice of love.

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