Darkness cannot remain when light is present. Through science, we know sound and sight are only possible when light is present. For God to create the universe, light had to be called forth first. Without light, all is lifeless, colorless, and without sound or strength.
On this Sunday night, Jewish people will come together to celebrate the Festival of Lights called Hanukkah. For eight days they will light a special nine-branch candleholder/menorah, called a Hanukkiah. They will commemorate the miracle when God blessed Israel by extending a day’s portion of oil to last eight days.
Briefly stated: An army of Syrians took over God’s Temple in Jerusalem. They practiced pagan worship on this holy site. Through a difficult battle, the Jews regained control of the Temple, but it needed to be cleansed and rededicated. They found the holy menorah, a seven-branch lampstand. But they found only one day’s worth of oil to fill the lamps.
God’s command was to light the lamps every evening and burn them until daybreak every morning. What were they going to do? It took eight days to press and prepare fresh pure oil from the olives.
By faith, they lit the lamps that first night. When they went back the next night, there was one day’s worth of oil left in their pitcher. So, they lit the lamps again. This continued day by day until day eight when they had a full fresh supply.
This festival is also called the Feast of Dedication. Because when the Temple was cleansed and everything was in place, they rededicated the Temple to God. You can read about this festival in Jesus’ day.
Here is the account of the trip, Jesus made from His home in Galilee to Jerusalem to be a part of that joyous celebration. Further, He used Hanukkah to make a startling statement that is so important to all of us.
Let’s look at John 10:22-30, 37-38 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. 24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”…37 If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38 but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.”
What the Jews didn’t know then, and many still don’t know today, is that the holy seven-branch menorah is a symbol of Jesus. Years after this miracle, Jesus told His disciples, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12
Today, many Jewish people are believers in Jesus—Messianic believers. This festival of lights has become a much greater celebration. And many Christian believers now join them in celebrating Hanukkah. Jew and Gentile are coming together in Messiah.
In 2023, Abba will give me the opportunity to write more about Light. In fact, that is the word He’s given me for 2023. I believe it is prophetic, much like the word He gave me this year—Anchor. With all the political, medical, and physical storms we’ve endured this year, I can truly say, we all needed the Anchor. He, of course, is the Anchor and the Rock. It will be interesting to see how Light will play a part in this year to come.
Still, for the next eight days of Hanukkah, beginning on Sunday, December 18th, I am going to repost pieces written before. You can join the celebration if you like. Our Savior and Lord is worthy of celebration. He is our Light and our Salvation.