Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Eternal life and Hanukkah

© 2004 Christy K Robinson

At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. John 10:22-23 NASB

There is a festival of lights that pierces the long nights of winter, and it’s been celebrated for more than 2,000 years. The festival recalls the 168-165 BC Maccabees’ revolt against the assimilation of Hellenistic Jews and oppression by the Syrian Greeks who had desecrated the Jerusalem Temple. When the Maccabean Jews reclaimed the Temple, there was only one day’s measure of consecrated oil to burn in the large menorah. Because of their prayer and sincere intention to cleanse God’s sanctuary, He kept the lamp burning for eight days, until more olive oil could be obtained and ritually purified.

The Hebrew word Hanukkah means “dedication.” Jews and Christians believe that this dedication and purification of the Temple was a fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy of the desecration and cleansing of the sanctuary. Today’s Hanukkah customs include gift-giving and family celebrations. Many holiday foods are fried to commemorate the miracle of the oil.

Jesus celebrated Hanukkah! John 10:22-23 NASB says that Jesus was at the Temple during the festival of dedication—Hanukkah. Jesus used this Hanukkah celebration to compare the miracle of extending the life of consecrated oil in a lamp, and the heart consecrated to Him. God is all-powerful to grant eternal life or measureless oil. He’s more interested in your heart than He is in ceremonies or the accoutrements of worship.

The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, "How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly." Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father's name, these testify of Me. But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one." John 10:24-30 NASB

Eternal life which no one can snatch from God’s nail-scarred hand. He extends His hand to you right now, just as you are. Accept your gift!

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