In Chapter 9 God’s people disobey Him and the leaders come to tell Ezra. He was genuinely upset with them but instead of abandoning them to their sin, Ezra prayed for them. But not just for them – with them!
He hadn’t sinned himself, he hadn’t even idly sat by and knowingly let the people sin – for he knew nothing of it - yet when it came time for him to pray he sticks by them, in unity, using the word ‘our’ multiple times (verses 6 and 7) – ‘our sins’, ‘our guilt’ – instead of the words ‘them’ and ‘theirs’.
He includes himself in the list of people responsible.
This man not only loved these people, but he had a Godly understanding of responsibility. He does the right thing, even though he could have so easily threw up his hands and said ‘not my problem, sort it out yourself’.
I imagine Ezra in this instance being like a father; the father of children (God’s people) who have hurt another child (Jesus). He does what any good father would do and takes them to house of the wronged child’s parent (God) so the children can say sorry and he (as the father) can say sorry too. The father (Ezra) didn’t hurt the child (Jesus) personally, but he had responsibility over the people who did, so it’s his place to apologize alongside them.
In taking on the fatherly role in the situation, Ezra is imitating God himself, as we are all called to do, and I was challenged by that.
I pray that, in future, if my friends or family get into trouble that I would mirror Christ, just as Ezra did, and stick by them and pray for them even if my initial reaction is to walk away to face the consequences alone.