These mixed marriages really spun Ezra out. He was very upset and ready to weed it out. However, we know these marriages snowballed into who we know in the gospels as the Samaritans: the half-breeds.
While we would categorize Ezra’s rage about these marriages as a holy anger (rightly so, marrying into idol worshipping families had escalated into an exile they hadn’t yet recovered from), we also see Jesus first reveal himself as the Messiah to a Samaritan.
The new thing about Jesus (or perhaps, the new depths of God’s love revealed through Jesus), was that while Ezra needed to bar half-breeds and mixed marriages from temple worship and community inclusion, Jesus said He was looking for new worshippers.
“Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.’” (John 4:21-24)
This relational rift between the Jews and the Samaritans had gotten uglier over the 400+ years. It’s human nature to continue tacking on reasons to dislike each other when a matter isn’t resolved. Jesus was bringing a new resolution to a very old matter. New life, and it spread like wildfire among the Samaritan’s.
Now I’m way off topic here (maybe), but my brain likes making connections and this was where it went today.
Are there any relationships in your life that started out as holy anger or reasonable distain, and have gotten away from you? How can you invite Jesus into that relationship to bring life and true resolution?