Friday 11 December 2009
Happy Hanukkah to all my Jewish readers!
Hanukkah begins tonight, so here’s a question to see how much you know about the festival.
Where in the Bible is Hanukkah mentioned?
Deduct ten points if you said the Books of Maccabees. Maccabees is not officially in the Bible. It is part of what is known as the apocryphal, or “hidden” books, those books that didn’t make it into the Hebrew Scriptures.
It’s no use looking for it in the first 39 books of Scripture. The only reference to Hanukkah is in the Gospel According to Johanan (better known to you and me as John) in the last twenty verses of chapter 10:
At that time the Feast of Dedication [Hanukkah] took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jewish religious leaders gathered around him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly."
Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one."
The religious leaders picked up stones again to stone him.
Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?"
The Jewish leaders answered him, "It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God."
Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Torah, 'I said, you are gods'? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came - and Scripture cannot be broken - do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father."
Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.
He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained. And many came to him.
And they said, "John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true."
And many believed in him there.
(Gospel According to John 10:22-42)
Now there’s something to think about!