Chanukkah–The Feast of Dedication

Return from the SynagogueIllustration:  “Return from the Synagogue,” by Marc Chagall, oil on canvas, 1926.

“So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, ‘How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly'” (John 10:24).

As Jesus walked in the temple, a crowd gathered around Him. Some were walking the path with Him, many had witnessed his miracles, and all were longing for a Messiah. Now they asked him to be clear:  “Are you the Messiah or not?”

God’s people have waited a long time for the promised Messiah. This festival reminds them of the wait. Chanukkah commemorates the rededication of the temple in 167 B.C. The land of Israel had been conquered by Syria, and its king, Antiochus, declared himself to be god. He refused to allow the Jewish people to worship the true God, and he desecrated the temple. A man arose during this time who would help lead the Jews in a victory over the Syrians. His name was Judah (the name alone would evoke hope, because Jacob promised the Messiah would come through his son, Judah), and following a miraculous victory, many hailed him as the messiah.

But as Jesus walked in the temple, Judah has been dead for many generations, and another foreign power controlled Israel. Jesus, from the tribe of Judah, is being asked, “Are you the Messiah?” Some hope for deliverance from the Romans. Others hope for deliverance from persecution. Few hope for the deliverance that Jesus would effect. He would deliver them from death, and a new temple would be dedicated in the hearts of those who follow Him on His path to the cross.

Prayer:  My God, and my salvation, thank you for my faith. Renew and strengthen me today to answer with boldness, “Yes, Jesus is my Messiah.” In Y’shua’s name, Amen.

Ponder the path:  When you’re on a journey, it is OK to stop now and then to ask directions, even with GPS! “Are you the Messiah?” is an appropriate question to ask Jesus on this journey through Lent.  What answer to you hear?  Listen as Jesus tells you, “Yes, it is as you say”  (Matthew 26:64).


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