John 10:22-23 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication (Chanukah), and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.
Chanukah, a time of celebration and rededication, began tonight in the Land and for Jewish people all over the globe. Those of us who are grafted in through the atoning work of Messiah, we who know God, have an opportunity to see the deeper significance in the Biblical holidays and are not only welcome but encouraged to celebrate as well!
Over 150 years before Yeshua’s (Jesus’) birth, a group of Jewish warriors led by Judah Maccabee defeated Anticochus IV. Though terribly outnumbered by their foes, the Maccabees triumphed over the Grecian Syrian Empire. This led to the establishment of Chanukah — the feast of dedication.
According to an ancient Jewish legend, Judah entered into Jerusalem only to find the Temple desecrated by a sacrificed pig and an idol of Zeus. Upon seeing this, he immediately began to cleanse the Temple. Judah also found that there was only one cruse of undefiled oil which could burn in the Temple Menorah (holy candelabra which had to continually burn). This oil was only enough for one day but it miraculously lasted for eight days, just enough time to get more of this special oil made. So in memory of this miracle and the rededication of the Temple, Chanukah or the Festival of Lights has been celebrated by the Jewish people for over 2000 years and was even celebrated by Yeshua (Jesus) Himself!
Every Chanukah, chanukkiahs (the candelabra of nine candle holders) are lit. Each chanukkia has a special candle, known as the Shamash which is raised above the other eight. The word ‘shamash’ means ‘servant, helper, or minister — so the Shamash candle is the servant candle, or the ministering candle, and is used to light all the other candles. It is the servant who is raised up and lights all the others, symbolizing Messiah, for us who believe.
Yeshua came and proclaimed that ‘He is the Light of the World and whoever follows Him shall have the light of life!’ The one who serves the Lord will be a light! The one who does the will of God will shine! The more we serve the Lord, and earnestly do His will, with all our heart, soul and mind — the more we will shine with the light of God and so ultimately will we be raised up!
Let’s strive to serve the Lord with gladness this season and light up the world around us! We may be small but a small light will go a long way in a dark place.