Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Happy Hanukkah

I doubt it's coincidental that when Jesus calls himself the light of the world (Jn 8:12; 9:5), that's a lead-in to the account of Jesus at the temple during Hanukkah (Jn 10:22). And on the other side of the festival is the fate of those bereft of light, to be overtaken by darkness (Jn 11:9). The statements bookend Hanukkah.  

Unlike the Mosaic festivals, this was a customary festival, commemorating the Maccabean revolt. With intentional irony, Jesus appropriates the Festival of Lights to make it witness himself. This all hearkens by to the divine identity of Jesus in the Prologue as the Creator of sunlight, moonlight, and starlight. And it may not be coincidental that the Menorah symbolism in Revelation (e.g. Rev 1:12ff.) recalls Hannukkah as well as the tabernacle. Even Jews who reject the messianship of Jesus unwittingly celebrate Jesus whenever they celebrate Hanukkah.

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