The book of Ezra recounts the return of the Exiles from Babylon to Jerusalem. It is a book full of hope in God’s promises and longing for God’s Kingdom. It also chronicles the effort to rebuild the temple of God.
The two men who led the rebuilding project were Jeshua and Zerubbabel.
Now, these names may not mean much to us, but they point to something great. If Jeshua sounds familiar to you, it’s because it should. Jeshua was a Levite, a priest of God. But that’s not why his name is familiar. Jeshua is a variation of the name Joshua, which is a variation of the name Yeshua, the Hebrew name for Jesus. Jeshua the priest was instrumental in rebuilding the place where God met with His people.
Zerubbabel’s name is not as important, except for where else it shows up in Scripture. We read his name in Matthew chapter 1 and Luke chapter 3, the genealogies of Jesus. His name is one of the few that shows up in both lists. Zerubbabel was from the tribe of Judah, an heir of the old kingship of David. He, the heir to the throne, and Jeshua, the priest, together led the rebuilding of Israel’s meeting place with God.
Now, we cannot read too much into this. But we can look at these two men from Judah and Levi, from the tribe of kings and the tribe of priests, who led the temple building project, and remember that Jesus is both King and Priest and He became the place where God meets with man. He is the one who said, “tear down this temple and I will raise it up again in 3 days.” He is the One who said that people can only come to God through Christ. He is the One who is both the Shepherd and the Door, He leads us into the sheep fold of God and cares for us
I can imagine that the New Testament church read these names with similar thoughts as they came to understand that all Scripture points to the true meeting place of God and man, the Man who is God, Jesus Christ.