Jesus @ Hanukkah

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.

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 over them. 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’ve been 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

Check out this link for more on Hanukkah (& Jesus!):

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