Ezra 7-8

Psalm 87

We have completed the book of Esther and now are going back to the Book of Ezra where we read of him making his journey to Jerusalem some 15 years after the end of the book of Esther. Artaxerxes I is the new King of Persia. He supported Ezra’s going to Jerusalem and will later support Nehemiah going to rebuild the wall around the city.

Ezra 7:10 records that, “For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord, and to  practice it, and to teach His statues and ordinances in Israel.” NASB

It was around this time that there was a movement among the priests to preserve the Law of God and teach it to the people of Israel so they would not lose sight of their heritage as God’s people and be assimilated into the culture around them. As time goes on two main groups will form from this movement. These will be known as the Pharisees and the Sadducees. They will start out well by preserving the Torah, however, as time goes on, they will add to the Law the Oral law and then later the rabbi’s commentaries on these Laws. This will result in traditions being formed which, when established, will carry as much weight and influence as the Law. The Pharisees will be more conservative and have a greater following from the people. The Sadducees will be more liberal and control the office of the High Priest. They will be considered the Aristocracy. At the time of the Apostle Paul we are told in Acts 23:8 they do not believe in the resurrection, angels or spirits but the Pharisees do.  What was started with good intensions became corrupted over the years to the point that the people were taught that they were saved by their works even though there were opposing views as to what these works were.

At this time there was another one who sought to bring clarity and truth and give proper understanding to the Law of God. His name was Jesus, God,s Son. He not only came to teach the Law but to live the Law. John 1: 1-4 and 14 tells us Jesus was the Law.

Here are some verses that describe who Jesus is. John 4:26, 6:35, 8:23, 8:53, 9:5, 10:36, 11:25, 13:13, 14:6, 15:1; Revelation 1:8, 1;17.

Here are some verses that describe Jesus representing the Law of God to us which points to the heart of the Father. John 7:26, 8:28, 38, 49, 10:37&38, 14:1.

We really cannot separate Jesus from the Word of God nor can we exclude the Old Testament and focus only on the New Testament for the Old Testament was the Bible Jesus read. This is why we are reading the Old Testament and in the future, the New Testament. Our goal as Christians (Followers of Christ Jesus) is to be like Him as Paul describes in Philippians 2:1-18.

We are called to be servants and God’s witness to the world. Matthew 5:1-20.

Pastor Dave