Yosef (Joseph) a betrayed brother turned slave turned prime minister in Mitzraim (Egypt). Daniel a war captive turned wise man turned second to an emperor in Babylon. יהודה המכבי Yehudah ha-Makabi (Judas Maccabeus) a priest of Yisrael turned leader of a successful insurrection against the Seleucid empire’s campaign of forced conversion. Yeshua ha-Mashiakh (Jesus the Christ) in the Temple during the Festival of Dedication. These four accounts may seem to quite disjointed, but the conjunction of the Torah reading מקצ Miketz/Miqetz (Genesis 41:1-44:14, “from the end”) and the celebration of Chanukah/Hannukah helps underscore that ongoing lessons from both help us understand what Yeshua meant by “the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” (Matthew 24:13 NASB).
What does Chanukah (Festival of Dedication) have to do with believers in Yeshua (Jesus)? It’s in the Bible, and Yeshua celebrated it. In doing so, He gave one of the most startling teachings about Himself (John 10:22-38). As well as a remembrance of the perils of giving up God’s words to fit in or save one’s neck, Chanukah is a memorial of the great miracle of the conception of the Messiah — Immanuel (God With Us) — through Miriam (Mary) (Luke 1; 1Chronicles 24; Haggai 2).
The eight days of חֲנֻכָּה Chanukah (Festival of Dedication, John 10:22–39), historically parallel the eight days of Sukkot (Festival of Tabernacles). But there is a startling parallel to eight women in the Bible for whom having children would have been miraculous — including the mother of Yeshua — yet these women dedicated themselves to God’s mission to restore the Earth.
It used to be common to ask, “What would Jesus do?” Well, why did Yeshua visit God’s House on an extrabiblical Jewish festival — Chanukah — to make one of the most startling statements about God’s love for humanity? Why did the “disciple whom Iesous loved” record it?
Rather than focus on layers upon layers of manmade tradition about a winter celebration of the birth of Yeshua, let’s dig through a number of layered messages that actually are in the Bible about God’s dedicating of a Living Temple — the Messiah — among humanity that could never again by left desolate or destroyed.
The fact that Yeshua celebrated Chanukah is not the focus of today’s talk. What we are going to focus on is Yeshua’s message in the Temple on the Festival of Dedication — Chanukah — and what the scribes and Pharisees asked Yeshua at that time about His being the Messiah. What did He tell them, and why didn’t He directly answer their question? The lessons of Chanukah applied then and to the coming Day of the Lord.
The only winter celebration mentioned in the Gospels is the festival of Dedication, or Chanukah. Yeshua was the Temple during one celebration and stated boldly, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). This caps a string of clashes between Yeshua and certain religious leaders — recorded in John 7-10 and covering a two-month period from Sukkot, or the festival of Tabernacles, to Chanukah — over whether Yeshua was the Messiah.