Scripture Focus: Ezra 1.5
…Everyone whose heart God had moved—prepared to go up and build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem
Reflection: Hearts God Moves :: Epiphany
By John Tillman
In our reading plan, Ezra and Acts fill the early days of our even years. These accounts show what it looks like when God starts something new and renews what has been destroyed.
In both books we will see what it looks like when God begins to move in the hearts of people.
In both books we will watch as God’s relationship with his people is restored.
In both books we will see God build a community of worshipers, followed by a place of worship.
Ezra’s account concerns the Temple of Jerusalem. The Temple was the place that the Lord loved, in the city that the Lord chose to bear his name. The Temple was the place that God said would never be without his presence and where he would always hear the prayers of anyone who sought him. It was defiled, abused, and ultimately destroyed by human sin and human actions. It was robbed, reviled, and ripped apart stone by stone.
In Ezra we will see God’s work to, stone by stone, reconstruct the Temple of Jerusalem to bear his name.
Luke’s account in Acts concerns the church—called by Paul the body of Christ and by Peter a Temple of living stones. Jesus was God’s beloved Son, upon whom the Spirit was given without limit. In perfect unity with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, he demonstrated God’s love for his people. Innocent and righteous, Christ became for us human sin and was killed by human actions. He was betrayed, reviled, and crucified having his bones pulled apart joint by joint.
In Acts we will see, God’s Holy Spirit coming to dwell not in a Temple built by human hands, but in individual human hearts. We will see these people become the living stones of a new Temple, God’s Church, the members of the Body of Christ. Stone by stone, part by part, we will see God construct a place from which his Spirit will never depart and to which all people are called to worship Jesus Christ.
During Epiphany, we celebrate the light of Christ being revealed to the nations. One of the gifts of Christ is that we become a part of Epiphany—Christ’s manifestation—as we fulfill our role in the body of Christ and take our place as living stones in his Temple.
May God move in our hearts, as in the hearts of the returning exiles, making his dwelling place with us and shining brightly through us in the coming year.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Sing to the Lord and bless his Name; proclaim the good news of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations and his wonders among all peoples.
For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; he is more to be feared than all gods. — Psalm 96.2-4
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.
Ezra 2 (Listen -5:25)
Acts 2 (Listen -6:35)
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Read more about Sight for the Blind :: Epiphany
To appreciate the Epiphany of Christ—literally the manifestation or appearing—we must be healed of our blindness.
Read more about The Radical Procedure of the Gospel
May our hearts be made sensitive enough to feel his breath, hear his voice, and move as he directs.