12.01.09 Jn. 10:22-30 Dec. 17, A.D. 29 Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah)
JESUS AFFIRMS HIS OWN DEITY
22 Then the Festival of Dedication took place in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23 Jesus was walking in the temple complex in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and asked, “How long are You going to keep us in suspense? If You are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
25 “I did tell you and you don’t believe,” Jesus answered them. “The works that I do in My Father’s name testify about Me. 26 But you don’t believe because you are not My sheep. 27 My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish — ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”
In this passage Jesus identified Himself as the ultimate good Shepherd – an attribute the Jewish people recognized in God, known as Jehovah Rohi. The connection could not be missed. Yet they continued to have difficulties understanding Jesus as being God in human form. Their opinions were based upon the following reasons:
- They simply could not imagine that God would be a man since Daniel said the Messiah would be like a man (10:18).
- They also had a long-standing tradition of not worshiping any man or idol.
- They had to contend with the claims of divinity made by the Roman emperor and,
- They recalled all too well similar claims and persecution from Antiochus IV Epiphanes in the second century B.C.
The ministry of Jesus included the challenge of changing their preconceived mind sets and allowing them to discover who He was.
“Feast of Dedication.” Two centuries earlier the Syrian-Greeks had desecrated the temple. After the Maccabean Revolt ended, the temple was quickly cleansed and on the 25th day of Kislev (December 25), 165, B.C. the first Feast of Dedication was celebrated. It was a celebration enjoyed by Jesus. Obviously this eight-day feast does not have an Old Testament origin, but it was to remember two significant events:
- The incredible victory God gave them over the Greek Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
- The miracle of oil for the menorah. At the time of the temple cleansing, there was only a one-day supply of olive oil, which was used for fuel in the giant temple menorahs. The miracle was that the menorahs remained lit for eight days, until new oil could be pressed according to the strict rabbinic guidelines.
This was a clear sign that God was still with them after three years of incredible persecution and more than two centuries since their last prophet. This celebration today is known as the Festival of Lights or Hanukkah.
“Solomon’s colonnade.” This large temple porch, with its 162 white marble columns, was a favorite teaching area for the rabbis. It was reconstructed, in part, with building materials from the destroyed first temple and, hence, the name, Solomon’s Colonnade. Whenever the rabbis taught, they alluded to a physical object, an event in history, or other meaningful connection. They placed their students in the atmosphere that literally reflected the wisdom of Solomon. Under these colonnades, the rabbis encouraged them to become as wise as their king who had built the first temple. Today the colonnaded porch is gone. Yet archaeologists have identified a section of the Temple Mount wall that was constructed by Solomon, but are unsure if any columns are of Solomon’s era.
“The Father and I are one.” After performing the messianic miracles, and fulfilling messianic prophecies, His challengers still demanded that He state whether He was the long expected messiah. However, it was the custom of the time not to speak of one’s self in a direct manner, since that was seen as being prideful. Suspecting the answer Jesus would give, they wanted to have a plain straight forward answer so that they could kill him. The time had finally come and Jesus now revealed Himself to be the one true God who is the eternal self-existent, self-revealing “I AM.” He further revealed Himself in the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This doctrine of the one true God is essential to the Christian faith. Jesus clearly proclaimed His deity – a comment that horrified them. The New Testament repeatedly affirms the divinity of Jesus.
. See “Jesus, the Fulfiller of Selected Names of God” in Appendix 32 for additional attributes.
. See 03.04.23; Chronological History, 180 to 160 B.C.
. Tenney, The Gospel of John. 111; Franz, “Jesus celebrates Hanukkah.” 116-19; Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament. 2:195.
. Farrar, Life of Christ. 302-03; Jones, “Dedication, Feast of.” 1:380; Josephus, Antiquities 12.7.7.
. Franz, “Hanukkah: The Festival of Light.” 91-92.
. Laperrousaz, “King Solomon’s Wall Still Supports the Temple Mount.” 37.
. For other references on this doctrine see Deut. 6:4; Mk. 12:29; Isa. 43:10-31; 1 Tim. 6:15-16; 1 Jn. 5:7; Mt. 28:19.
. The divinity of Jesus is also mentioned in Jn. 1:1; 17:5; Phil. 2:6; Col. 1:15; 2:9.