Last night we entered the Festival of Hanukkah. The Hanukkah story is a story of great courage and of a strong love for God.
The story is found in Maccabees, this is a historical book that tells the history of the Jewish people.
Many Christians would be surprised that this festival is mentioned in John.
“And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.” (John 10:22-23 KJV).
The Complete Jewish Bible says, “Then came Hanukkah in Yerushalayim. It was winter, and Yeshua was walking around inside the Temple area, in Shlomo’s Colonnade.”
This is the only said and the story continues. I believe each detail is important. Jesus went to Jerusalem to show honor during this festival.
Here’s the brief story, you can read the entire account in Maccabees. Antiochus wanted the Jewish people to cease all the customs of the Lord; Sabbath, Feasts, New Moons, and more. He placed a statue of Zeus in the Holy Temple and profaned the altar by sacrificing a pig.
A man, a Priest, named Judah, he lead a revolt that cleansed and rededicated the Temple.
Now let’s see why this is celebrated. 1 Maccabees 4:54-59 “Look, at what time and what day the heathen had profaned it, even in that was it dedicated with songs, and citherns, and harps, and cymbals. Then all the people fell upon their faces, worshipping and praising the God of heaven, who had given them good success. And so they kept the dedication of the altar eight days and offered burnt offerings with gladness, and sacrificed the sacrifice of deliverance and praise. They decked also the forefront of the temple with crowns of gold, and with shields; and the gates and the chambers they renewed, and hanged doors upon them. Thus was there very great gladness among the people, for that the reproach of the heathen was put away. Moreover Judas and his brethren with the whole congregation of Israel ordained, that the days of the dedication of the altar should be kept in their season from year to year by the space of eight days, from the five and twentieth day of the month Chislev, with mirth and gladness.”
So why should Christians read this story? Because our savior is Jewish and He is the Jewish Messiah. If He felt it necessary to honor the men who literally gave their lives for God and His Word we should know their story.
Am I telling you to celebrate Hanukkah, no, that’s between you and God. But as people who have been grafted in to a Jewish root we should know History. If you think about it if any of the attempts to destroy the Jewish people would have worked we would have never had a savior.
God’s covenant is an everlasting covenant with the Jewish people and we have been grafted in. We should find courage in this amazing story and celebrate the great men of this story just as Yeshua did.