The Light of life
(Part 2 of 2)
The Jews therefore came around him and said to him, “How long will you hold us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
It is Hanukkah or the Feast of the Dedication (as translated to Greek) where we find Jesus at the temple in Jerusalem (John 10:22-23). It is a timely question because Hanukkah commemorates the time the Hasmoneans liberated Jerusalem through the leadership of Judah or as the Jews called him, Maccabee.
Jesus and His ways
In the decades following their victory against the Greeks, the Hasmoneans continued to reign over a largely divided people and to strengthen their power, allied with the Romans. Their "ally" subjugated them later on putting the Jews once again under a foreign power.¹
The Romans had been ruling Jerusalem for almost a hundred years when we find Jesus celebrating Hanukkah at the temple.²
The Jews had been waiting for a Maccabee-like Messiah to come and finally establish a kingdom on earth where people will be able to live in peace forever.³ When Jesus Christ appeared, he seemed to fit the mold of what they thought a Messiah should be.
He was doing a lot of miracles and was speaking in wisdom and authority. He cast out demons, healed the sick, raised the dead, turned water into wine, and multiplied food in excess for thousands of people not once, but twice!
What they did not expect however was Jesus going against the grain of everything they thought was right or held dear.
Jesus preached that the kingdom of God is near. Instead of an armed uprising, He taught love, humility, “turning the other cheek”, service, repentance, forgiveness, grace, modest living, and total dependence on and trust in His Father in heaven. He also ate with sinners and worked on the Sabbath.
Perhaps what was most controversial was He called out the priests and teachers of the law for their hypocrisy, and forgave people of their sins (which only God can do). To their disbelief, He said that He and the Father were one. Jesus literally said that He is God.
The light of men
The entire chapter 10 of the book of John shows Jesus testifying that He is the Son of God and the Messiah. Unfortunately, not all Jews believed with some even getting violent with the claims of Jesus. The chapter ends by saying though that "Many believed in him there."
Presently, many Jewish people have either become secular, atheistic, or agnostic. The majority who believe in God are still waiting for their Messiah to come. The flipside of that is social media shows that there is a growing trickle of Jewish people coming to believe that Messiah has already come and that He is Jesus Christ (Yeshua HaMashiach in Heb.).
Jesus is the true light that enlightens everyone and is piercing through the unbelief and darkness. John 1:4-5,9 explain it best:
In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness hasn’t overcome it. . . The true light that enlightens everyone . . .
The Hanukkah menorah or lampstand has nine candles. The middle candle is called shamash which is used to light the eight other candles. The miracle of Hanukkah is that a day's supply of oil lasted for eight days. God ensured that the light continued to burn until the priests were able to make consecrated oil again.
Jesus Christ is our shamash. He alone can put the light in our lives because He is the Light of the world.
We are in dark times and the world is in much need of enlightenment. There are many sources of "light" present in the world, but Jesus Christ is the only one that is constant and enduring.
When we believe and put our trust in Him, we become bearers of His light because of His Holy Spirit who begins to live in us. Whether we believe it or not, His light in us illuminates the place we visit. Our answers to questions and problems enlighten people and give clarity to complicated situations.
As Hanukkah ends, let's remember the Light that we have will not be overcome with darkness. Let our thoughts, speech, and actions reflect that so more people will be drawn to Jesus who is waiting to give them life that is abundant and everlasting,
*"Melech HaMoshiach (the King Messiah), is reserved for the Jewish leader who will redeem Israel in the End of Days." ³
¹ Hasmoneans. (n.d.). Retrieved December 15, 2020, from https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/encyclopedia-of-the-bible/Hasmoneans
² Timeline - Biblical History (Illustrated History of Ancient Rome - Bible History Online. (n.d.). Retrieved December 16, 2020, from https://www.bible-history.com/rome/rometimeline__biblical_history.htm