Second Day — I’m doing Hanukkah this year. Here’s why:
In the writings of the New Testament, Hanukkah is called ‘The Feast of Dedication,” and is the backdrop for some of Jesus’ most striking declarations.
If you haven’t read ‘The First Day,” you can do that here.
Returning to the 10th chapter of the Gospel of John, we find Jesus gathering at the festival of lights (Hanukkah).
“Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, ‘How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.’” (John 10:22–24)
Yeshua’s teachings must have raised an enormous amount of tension and perhaps even anticipation since the last ‘All Israel’ gathering at the Feast of Tabernacles. With the passing of a couple of months, the Jews in attendance would have had plenty of time to discuss and speculate as to the character and nature of Jesus. The question,“How long will you keep us in suspense?” is laden with expectancy.
In answering the Jews, Jesus talked about the works he was doing in the name and power of the Father and that those works ‘testified’ to his true nature.
He then turns the discussion towards his listeners and talks about THEIR character and nature. Jesus says,
“But you do not believe because you are not my sheep.” (John 10:26)
This was a bold statement that was built on a previous statement spoken at the Feast of Tabernacles just a couple of months prior:
“Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” (John 8:47)
Can you see what Yeshua is doing? He again connects himself to the Father in a profound and mysterious way. The Tanakh, or Old Testament, again and again establishes God as the shepherd and owner of the sheep. Read these words from Ezekiel:
“You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign LORD.” (Ezekiel 34:31)
When Yeshua tells the folks gathered at the Hanukkah event that they were not ‘his’ sheep and that because of not being ‘his’ sheep they were plagued with unbelief, it was certainly a game-changer. This is another instance where Yeshua makes an astounding relational connection with their God. As we’ll see in the coming days, they knew exactly what he was claiming and they weren’t too happy about it.
Again, the backdrop of victory, triumph over secular enslavement, renewal and rededication of the temple some 170+ years earlier was at the forefront of everyone’s mind and certainly the reason for their Hanukkah gathering. That God would sent would send His Son into a gathering that celebrated the work of God showing by his life and words the very work of God is classic.
In a sense, God crashed His own party.
There are more powerful Hanukkah declarations from Yeshua coming. In fact, there is one powerful statement for each of the remaining days of Hanukkah, and I will be writing about each one. Join me by commenting, following, or clicking on the clapping hands in the left column.
Why am I celebrating Hanukkah this year? It’s because it reminds me not to acquiesce to secularism regardless of how much pressure is exerted to do the same. It compels me to think of God’s victory in trying times and His grace extended towards those under persecution. It causes me to dwell on prayer and petition for those who are suffering for righteousness sake. Finally, it makes me think of David’s words,
“I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.” (Psalm 77:11)
Look for ‘The Third Day’ tomorrow. Shalom.