I think I must have subconsciously remembered that the Feast of Dedication was also known as the Feast of Lights. That got my attention. Don’t miss that timing here because I don’t think Jesus did. The Feast of Lights is observed during the Winter solstice when the day with the least hours of light happens. The Light of the World choosing to be at the Feast of Lights during the darkest time of year to celebrate enduring light. Do you see where this is heading?
The Jews had been through a terrible time in their history when this feast first began. They’d endured nearly 200 years of wars, massacres, their faith being outlawed, the Temple in Jerusalem being desecrated and no new prophets raised to reveal new truths about God to them. They were blinded by that loss until the Temple was recaptured and they were called to rebuild it and refocus themselves on the worship of the One true God, as instructed by Moses. The first Feast began as a commemoration to rededicate the Temple and themselves to God and to relight the menorah that was meant to provide light every day and night in the Temple. The Jews knew they only had oil for one day but they chose to give that one day to God out of obedience. And in that moment of obedience God gave them the miracle of enduring light that lasted eight days that they continued to celebrate each of the following 200 years.
Jesus is the new moment of obedience for them at this feast. The same Lord they’ve honored every year since that first beginning has come into their midst. Jesus, the Light of the World, has chosen to reveal the bold declaration of His identity: “I and the Father are one” and then later in verse 38 “the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” At this point in time they’ve lived through a nearly 400-year period between the Old Testament ending with Malachi’s speaking of a new coming of the Lord and the New Testament’s beginning with John the Baptist’s testimony about Jesus as the Messiah. Now God has proven His silence is over…and they’ve missed the moment.
Reading John’s scripture passage is like reading a familiar pattern of daily life. The recorded wisdom of history and the reality of life are all rolled into the two Testaments of His Word. The Bible doesn’t put a pretty face on every experience of life. Sometimes it includes the reality of how easy it is to miss the moment of obedience. And then it speaks of a new moment of hope in Galatians 2:19 TLB…for it was through reading the Scripture that I came to realize that I could never find God’s favor by trying—and failing—to obey the laws. I came to realize that acceptance with God comes by believing in Christ.