Verse of the Week:
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Hanukkah is the commemoration of the rededication of the temple after many years of desecration by the Greeks. A small group of faithful Jews, the Maccabees, who would rather face death than be unfaithful to their God defeated the much larger Greek army. The battles are recounted in 1 & 2 Maccabees in the Apocrypha. The Miracle of Lights (the menorah with only one day’s worth of oil, stayed lit for the eight-day rededication ceremonies) is recorded in the Talmud.
Even though the Hanukkah story is not in the TANAKH nor is it in the Protestant bible as traditionally celebrated, the Gospel of John tells us that Yeshua (Jesus) made the trip from Galilee to Temple in Jerusalem for the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah).
Since Hanukkah is observed during December it seemed appropriate to recognize the Festival of Lights this week. During the festival, Yeshua used this time to make several very important points.
And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication (hanukkah), and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.
- He is the Messiah
- His sheep know his voice – those He is talking to are NOT His sheep
- He gives them eternal life
- His sheep cannot be snatched from His or His Father’s hand
- He is one (equal) with God the Father
The last one is what really set Jewish leaders off. They felt He had blasphemed and they were ready to stone Him.
Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
What I really want to get across in telling this Hanukkah story about Yeshua (Jesus) is that He is the Light of the World and we are called to let our light shine before the people of the world since we have the Light of the World, the Light of Life living in and with us. He used this occasion to spread the Gospel, and so should we.
For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.
Live it out this week
Remember the Sunday School song, This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine? In keeping with the two main names of the Jewish festival – Feast of Dedication and Festival of Lights, dedicate yourself to let your light shine all the time. Not in a fake way but look for ways to genuinely reflect the Messiah (Christ) to others around you.
If you don’t feel the need to observe this festival, that’s ok, that is not the point of this post. The point is to let your light shine and give glory to our Heavenly Father – the Father of Lights.
Heavenly Father, thank You for sending the Light of the World into our sick and dying world 2000 years ago. Help me to recognize that I have that Light in me and help me let it shine for all to see. In Yeshua’s name, Amen.
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