Hi, welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for the Daily Challenges. Yesterday we read the story of Nehemiah, who rebuilt Jerusalem after a period of exile.
We saw yesterday that he gave all the credit to God at every opportunity, even when he first asked for the occupying king’s permission to build. A large part of the book of Nehemiah covers the actual project – who did what, how they protected themselves from attack while they built, and who moved into the city.
Today we’re going to notice the parallels between his story, and Jesus.
First, he’s a cupbearer, which means he sits at the right hand of the King and tastes his wine to prevent assassination by poisoning.
Nehemiah had this privileged position at the right hand of the king, and was willing to give it up to play his part in God’s plan. Jesus was described in the same way, Jesus was said to sit at the right hand of the king, and
“…though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5b-8 ESV)
The cupbearer has to be willing to die. Sound familiar yet? When it came time for him to sacrifice himself, he prayed to the Father, “let this cup pass from me.”
Nehemiah wept over the state of Jerusalem, and then did something about it. Jesus did the same – he wept over Jerusalem, and then sacrificed himself to save the entire world.
Finally, with the city and the temple rebuilt, Nehemiah and a scribe named Ezra refocused the people of Israel on God’s covenant. They reminded God’s people of the law they were supposed to uphold on their side of the covenant, before leading them to recommit to it.
And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the LORD had commanded Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard, on the first day of the seventh month. And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that they had made for the purpose. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand, and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam on his left hand. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood. And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground. Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places. They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. (Nehemiah 8:1-9 ESV)
Question: How did Jesus, and his death and resurrection, show God’s renewed commitment to his people, and lead God’s people to recommit to the law?