TODAY’S READING: EZRA 8-10
“Then we departed from the river Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go to Jerusalem. The hand of our God was on us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy and from ambushes.” – Ezra 8:31
I don’t see where the months are named in Ezra, but Jesus was crucified in the first month of the year. Jesus entered Jerusalem on the 10th of the month and was resurrected on the 17th of the month. So, the 12th day of the first month in Ezra could be during what would be the week of Jesus’ crucifixion.
If so, then that is quite interesting because what happens to Ezra on 12th day of the first month also happened to Jesus.
On the 11th, Jesus cleansed out the temple. The next day, the 12th, Jesus was questioned by what authority he did these things (Matthew 21:23-27). Jesus said he would only tell the chief priests and elders the source of his authority if they would tell him the source of the authority of the baptism of John. The chief priests and elders were afraid to answer and said they didn’t know. So, Jesus wouldn’t tell by what authority he was doing things.
It’s interesting that Jesus’ authority was questioned on the 12th day of the month since the number 12 symbolizes divine authority.
As that 12th day wore on, Jesus began telling parables. The chief priests and Pharisees heard the parables and realized Jesus was talking about them. So, they sought to arrest Jesus. The enemy was out to get Jesus.
So, the Pharisees “plotted how to entangle him in his words.” (Matthew 22:15) Just like Ezra, the hand of the enemy was out to get Jesus. The Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus in his words by ambushing him with what they thought were tricky questions.
First, they asked him about it being lawful to pay taxes or not. Then they asked Jesus about who a woman would be married to if she continued to marry the brothers of her dead husband trying to produce an heir for him. Next, they asked him what was the greatest commandment.
Every time they were marveled by the answers Jesus gave. “And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.” (Matthew 22:26)
So, while they were seeking to arrest Jesus and to trap him on the 12th day, eventually they left Jesus alone because of the astonishing answers to their questions.
Indeed, the hand of God was on Jesus, delivering him from his enemies and their ambushes on his way to the cross.