Chanukah (Hanukkah) or the Jewish Festival of Lights was celebrated around the world from the 10th to the 18th of December this year and normally before the traditional Christmas celebrations begin. This event began for the first time around 164 BC when the Jews were released from the bondage of the worship of the Greek gods imposed on them by King Antiochus IV who was the ruler of the Greek empire. Judas Maccabeus the appointed leader was in charge of restoring the temple in Jerusalem, so that the worship of the living and true God could indeed continue. There is also the record of a little oil that would miraculously last for eight days to illuminate the temple and the dedication which ensued. Light the Candle
And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me.
(John 10: 22-25).
The Lord Jesus Christ is present at the feast of the dedication in the temple. This is one passage in the scripture where this event is alluded to in verse 22. Chanukah means dedication or consecration. A key feature of this festival is the lighting of the menorah, a candelabrum having eight candle stands and a ninth one called the attendant. The candles are lit from right to left beginning at the first night when the first one is lit. On the eighth night, all of the eight are lit in remembrance also of the supernatural supply of oil which lasted eight nights. The light represents the victory which God gave to his people. This is also a reminder that truth prevails and the purity of doctrine will continue. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path
(Psalm 119:105). In this chapter of John, we see the Lord Jesus mingling with the crowd during the festival. Jesus is seen to join and endorse these Jewish celebrations, being a son of Abraham. He engages in conversation with the people about the relationship He has with the Father. His very presence there speaks of purity and holiness of the worship of the true God. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me
(John 14:6). John begins the gospel by stating very purposefully that He came to His own, but his own did not receive him. (John 1:11) Light of Christ
Even before this event of the dedication of the temple, The Lord Jesus had already reminded the people about the Light that has come into the world. Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life
(John 8:12). When he spoke these words it is believed that he was in the area of the temple where even the women and Gentiles in the outer court of the temple could distinctly hear him. Not only light for the Jewish nation and men, but for the women and Gentiles as well-the light of the world! The prophets of old spoke about this light that would appear.
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined
(Isaiah 9:2). Again just before the feast of dedication in John 10, the Lord gives the people another reminder that he is the light. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world
(John 9: 4-5). This light shines through the message of hope and salvation in the proclamation of the gospel. Light of the gospel
The Lord Jesus who is the light of world has returned into the very presence of the Father God and he awaits the prompting of the Father to return And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight
(Acts 1: 7-9). Until such time we are the blessed custodians of the gospel. We are witnesses to the good news that Jesus saves! He has come to give us life. He is the light! Even as we proclaim this message fervently, we continue to face opposition as His witnesses. We must pray and persevere so that the light of this message will change the hardened hearts and that the veil will be lifted up: But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake
(2 Cor 4: 3-5). When the light of this gospel shines in our heart and touches us we will realise the darkness we are in. We confess our sin and hence our need for cleansing and repentance. Most importantly to have this light of the world live in us; not only that but to rule and control our lives. Today and especially this month as the symbol of light burns in the menorah, may the light of the glorious gospel fall upon many. Turn to Light
Paul's emphasis in 2 Corinthians 4:5, that we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus the Lord. And even as we do this, our heart's desire and prayer is that many will turn to this light. Even as the lights in the temple were a symbol of the truth of God and his word and as the Jews from 164 BC were able to have restored the purity of doctrine and scripture and the purity of worship of the one true God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob, we have this God who has come to us in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ Emmanuel is God with us! He brings us into the very presence of the Father God.
The call of Jesus as the light is again evident later. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world
(John 12: 46-47). Turn on The Light
After we have turned to Him and received Him as our righteous Lord and master, we are the ones who will remain as his light in this world of darkness. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven
(Matt. 5: 14-16). What are we doing about this? The late John Stott once remarked that it is a sad reality that as the light of the world, we believers have the tendency to complain about sin and darkness in this world. What happens when you enter a room that is in total darkness? Do we complain and whinge and get depressed that it is dark and we cannot see or do we look for the switch and turn on the lights? As the church, as children of the light and as a people of the true God, we should turn on the light; the light that we are! For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings -- that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world
(Philippians 2: 13-15). Jesus bids us shine, With a pure, clear light, Like a little candle, Burning in the night. In this world is darkness, So we must shine-- You in your small corner, And I in mine. The light as promised and prophesied has come into the world. That light is the Lord Jesus Christ.
The day of grace is wide open for us to receive the light of the gospel, to turn to the light, and to be ready and willing to ’turn on the light’ and live for this Lord till He returns.