This post is also available in: Hebrew
First, let us look at the historical account of the Feast of the Dedication, which is familiar to us, and then we will look deeper to see the revelation of Christ in this feast for our experience.
The Feast of the Dedication was a commemoration of the restoration of the polluted temple. The temple had been polluted by a cruel Syrian king named Antiochus Epiphanes. The coming of this king was prophesied in chapters eight and eleven of the book of Daniel. Antiochus Epiphanes was the little horn that sprang out of one of the four horns. According to the prophecy in Daniel, this king blasphemed God. He occupied the temple and polluted it by offering swine on the altar. Daniel also prophesied that the wise among God’s people would be bold to do valiant things against this evil one. One of these wise ones was Judas Maccabaeus, who took the lead to fight against Antiochus Epiphanes. In a war that lasted approximately three years, Judas Maccabaeus was victorious, and the temple was restored and cleansed. The Feast of the Dedication commemorates the restoration and purification of the temple.
A story has been told among the Jews that when Antiochus Epiphanes was about to seize the temple, the high priest concealed the flagon of oil used for lighting the lamps on the lampstand. When the temple was restored by Judas Maccabaeus, there was not an adequate supply of oil to use in lighting the lamps. Eventually, they found the flagon of oil, which had been sealed by the signet of the high priest. However, that supply of oil was not sufficient to keep the lamps lighted for very long. Nevertheless, in a miraculous way that small supply of oil lasted for eight days. According to the story, the more the oil was used, the more its supply increased. In the Feast of the Dedication, the Jewish people remembered that miracle by lighting lamps both in the temple and in their homes. Hence, the Feast of the Dedication, which lasted for eight days, was a feast of lights. It was during this feast that the Lord Jesus came to Jerusalem and gave sight to a blind man.
It is a fact that since time began it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of one born blind. The man who was born blind represents all of us. Two thousand years ago a man came on the scene to bring us into the reality of light so we would not remain in darkness. Although we may be able to see physically, we need to have our spiritual sight restored so we can apprehend the spiritual things revealed in God’s Word, and realize matters such as God’s eternal purpose, the meaning of human life, and how to experience God in our daily life.
Regarding the true story of this blind man who was healed, let us look at a part of that account. The skeptical religious ones came to the blind man and questioned him. They said to the blind man, “What do you say about Him (i.e., Jesus), in that He opened your eyes?” And the man said, “He is a prophet.” .Some standing there did not believe concerning him that he had been born blind, so they called in his parents. These same skeptical ones said to his parents, “Is this your son, of whom you say that he was born blind? How then does he now see?” Then his parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. But how he now sees, we do not know; or who opened his eyes, we do not know. Ask him; he is of age; he will speak for himself.”
The man’s parents said these things because they feared the Jewish rulers, for they had already agreed to put out of the synagogue anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Christ. Because of this, the man’s parents said, “He is of age; question him.” Therefore, a second time the skeptics called the man who had been blind, and said to him, “Give glory to God; we know that this man (i.e., Jesus) is a sinner.” Then the man answered, “Whether or not He is a sinner, I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” They said then to him, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” He answered them, “I told you already and you did not hear. Why do you want to hear it again?” The Pharisees—the religious ones—said, “We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where He is from.” The blind man said, “Why here is an amazing thing that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes!”
Although the Feast of the Dedication was a time of light, the blind man was in darkness. Jesus said, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” The lights from the lamps in the Feast of the Dedication were of no help to the blind man. Therefore, Jesus seemed to be saying, “I am the real light. Physical light cannot help you. You need Me as the light of the world.” Josephus, a Jewish historian, called the Feast of the Dedication a feast of lights. As we have pointed out, during this feast the Jews lighted lamps in the temple and in their homes. With this feast as the background, the Lord Jesus came to Jerusalem to indicate to the Jewish people that He is the real light. For the blind man to receive his sight was for him to receive light. As a result of receiving light, he came out of darkness.
Today, this wonderful miracle can happen again—in our experience. Jesus is the real light, and He wants to come into our heart. When a person opens his or her heart and invites the Lord Jesus in, He comes in, bringing light to that person, even the light that leads us to eternal life. The way to experience the real Feast of the Dedication, the Feast of Lights, is to receive the One who is the light of the world. For Jesus Himself said, “I am the light of the world, he who follows Me shall by no means walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
Please pray from your heart, “Lord Jesus, I receive You as the real light right now. Shine into my being, and bring me into life and light. Amen.”
Christ Revealed in the Feast of the Dedication (the Feast of Lights — Hanukkah)