Jesus @ Hanukkah12/13/17

This year’s Hanukkah celebration just began. Think menorahs & dreidels & what Jewish people celebrate for 8 nights in December. And guess what – Jesus celebrated Hanukkah, or the Feast of Dedication (see John 10:22-42). It is in light of Jesus that we can best appreciate this Jewish holiday.

Candles lit for the eighth night of Hanukkah

Hanukkah is the celebration & remembrance of God’s deliverance of the Jewish people from a particular dark period in their history. In the 160s BC, Greek tyrant Antiochus Epiphanes (or “God manifest”) persecuted the Jews in Israel – even sacrificing a pig in the temple to mock them. But he was challenged by Judas Maccabeus – a revolutionary who led the people to resist their oppression. When Jews light the 8 candles of a menorah this month, they remember the miraculous light God provided them to overcome great darkness.

So when Jesus celebrates Hanukkah in the first century AD, messiahs & heroes are on the people’s minds. They’re longing for a “super-Maccabeus” to rescue them from Rome’s rule. So they ask Jesus, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah (or “Christ”), tell us plainly” (John 10:24, NIV). What kind of Christ does Jesus claim to be?

 

His answer: The Good Shepherd, who lays down His life for His sheep, only to take it up again (John 10:11,17); the One who gives His sheep eternal life that no one can take away (John 10:28); no mere revolutionary – Jesus is the Son of God: “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).

Colossians 1:13-14 puts it this way: Through faith in Jesus we are rescued from the dominion of darkness & brought into His kingdom; in Him we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. We may ask for a Jesus to fight our battles – but God gave us His Son to fight our greatest battle of all. It is this Jesus whom we celebrate this season!

-Pastor David

 
P.S. our church is hosting a Jews for Jesus representative for a Seder Meal on March 22, 2018. Mark your calendars!