Read – John 10:22-42
This the only mention of Hanukkah, the Feast of Dedication, in the Bible. In this time of celebrating the rededication of the Temple following the Maccabean revolt, Jesus makes yet another clear declaration of His divinity, “I and the Father are one” (v. 30). The Jews (i.e. the religious leaders) wanted to stone Jesus because they thought He spoke blaspheme as a mere man claiming to be God, and regardless of the miracles Jesus performed, if He was a false prophet speaking blasphemy that’s exactly what the Law required them to do. Jesus went on to tell them that the works He had done proved that what He said was true; “the Father is in me and I am in the Father” (v. 38).
LORD, give us wisdom to understand. Just as Jesus walked through the actual Temple in Jerusalem, may we see that He now walks among us; He is the one like a son of man “in the midst of the lampstands” (Rev. 1:13).
They still wanted to arrest Jesus refusing to believe, but He escaped and returned to the Jordan where John the Baptist had first baptized in water. Many who had heard Jesus at the Temple found Him there saying among themselves, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true;” as a result “many believed in him there” (vv. 41-42). The Greek word translated believed pisteuō also means commit unto, or commit to one’s trust. In other words, during the Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah we see people dedicate themselves to Jesus as their Messiah.
The story began saying that during the winter Feast of Dedication “Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon” (John 10:23). Let us ask the LORD to give us wisdom to understand. Just as Jesus walked through the actual Temple in Jerusalem, may we see that He now walks among us; He is the one like a son of man “in the midst of the lampstands” (Rev. 1:13). Like those along the Jordan, we too need to pisteuō, commit or dedicate ourselves afresh to Jesus as our LORD.
Paul asked the Corinthians, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16). Peter said as we come to Jesus, a living stone rejected by men but precious to God that “you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house” (2 Pt. 2:5). Likewise, as Stephen observed before He was put to death, “the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands” (Acts 7:48). I find this amazing; you and I as followers of Jesus are being built together into the LORD’S dwelling place.
And yet like Judas Maccabeus and the Jews oppressed by Antiochus in the second century BC, we too have an enemy that wants to desecrate God’s Temple. Let us heed the warnings of scripture. “God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.” (1 Thes. 4:7 NIV); “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pt. 5:8).
Yet how often have I given into temptation sinning against the LORD desecrating His temple? Like Paul, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. . . I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Rom. 7:15, 19).
On this final day of our season of dedication, I remember again that I too need to rededicate the LORD’S temple just like the Maccabees. Yet I cannot purify myself with good deed, or redouble my efforts to do what is right. I must call upon Jesus; He alone is able to cleanse me by His blood so I might again be a dwelling place fit for the presence of God Almighty.
LORD Jesus, I ask again today that you will come and cleanse me of my sin; keep my heart from evil and my lips from speaking lies. Holy Spirit, empower me anew “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly“ in all I do and say (Mic. 6:8). Thank You, LORD that what I ask is Your desire for me, to dedicate my life to You – today and everyday.