Though Hanukkah is one of the famous holidays among the Jews, it is not recorded in the canon of Scripture. This makes it worth discussing since many people wonder about the connection between Jesus and Hanukkah. Did Jesus celebrate Hanukkah?
The Gospel of John suggests that Jesus celebrated Hanukkah in John 10:22-23. He was a Jew and therefore followed Jewish festivals, and Hanukkah was one of them. The book also implies that Jesus celebrated Hanukkah to commemorate how God delivered the second temple of Jerusalem from Antiochus Epiphanes.
This article shares more on Hanukkah and can help determine whether Jesus attended this festival. The post was also written to discuss why Jesus celebrated Hanukkah and the point of this celebration. By the end of it, you will also learn if Christians celebrate this festival today.
Where in the bible does it say Jesus celebrated Hanukkah?
John 10: 22-23 shows that Jesus celebrated Hanukkah. This verse says, now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was Winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s Porch. At this time, the Feast of Dedication took place in Jerusalem.
The mention of Jesus being at the temple during the Feast of the Dedication is not coincidental. This feast was at the temple since the Jews believed it was where God’s presence dwelt. The temple was also the source of national identity for the Jews and their center of worship.
God had commanded them to build a Temple that would bring him pleasure. Haggai 1:8 says go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the Lord.
During Hanukkah, Jesus told his followers that the miracles that He had done supported his claim of being the long-awaited Jewish Messiah. He stated I and the Father are one. John 10:30.
Why did Jesus celebrate Hanukkah?
Since Jesus was Jewish and used to worship at the second temple, we can assume that He participated in Jewish festivals, including Hanukkah. Jesus was very observant regarding Jewish feasts and holidays and there is no reason He would miss this one. He celebrated Hanukkah in remembrance of God’s deliverance of Israel during a time of need.
Jesus participated in the celebration to thank God for the deliverance and preservation of the temple. Since God was bringing glory to the Temple, Jesus could not fail to appear in it during the Hanukkah festival.
What was the point of celebrating Hanukkah?
Also known as the Feast of Dedication, the Jews celebrated it to commemorate the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem. During this festival, the Jews remembered Judah the Maccabee for recapturing the temple of Antiochus Epiphanes, which was captured over 150 years before the birth of Jesus.
Following the Jewish victory against Antiochus, Judas ordered the restoration and cleaning of the temple. After it got purified, a new altar was installed, and it was dedicated on the 25th day of the month of Kislev according to the Jewish calendar. Judah proclaimed that the temple’s dedication should be celebrated yearly from that specific date.
Exodus 27:20 says you shall command the people of Israel that they bring you pure beaten olive oil for the Light that a light may regularly be set up to burn. When Judas Maccabeus entered the temple of Jerusalem and sought to light the Temple’s Menorah, he only found a small jar of oil not defiled by Antiochus Epiphanes.
Though the jar had oil that could only burn for one day, the oil miraculously burned for eight days until a new supply of oil was brought. The Jews, therefore, observe Hanukkah for eight days in honor of not only the historic victory but also the miracle of the oil.
Do Christians celebrate Hanukkah today?
Some do, while others don’t. Though Christians do not have to celebrate such Jewish festivals, those who appreciate the Hebraic roots of the Christian faith celebrate Hanukkah.
Today, the Feast of Dedication is known as the Feast of Lights. Christians who celebrate it do it to rededicate their lives to Christ and acknowledge him as the world’s true Light. When Jesus attended Hanukkah, he told his followers that he was the Light of the World and that whoever would follow him would not walk in the darkness but have the Light of life. This is written in John 8:12.
Christians celebrating Hanukkah believe it reminds them of God’s protection in their lives. According to Jesus, Hanukkah is a season for rededication to God. Christians that celebrate it believe that God loves responding to people who rededicate themselves to his ways.
Believers that celebrate Hanukkah also do this to commemorate the miracles of God. This celebration reminds Christians of the promise that Jesus gave them about giving them a new light.
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- Hanukkah: Why did Jesus celebrate the feast of dedication
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.