It was winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of the Dedication Celebration. He was at the Temple, walking through the section known as Solomon’s Hall. The Jewish leaders surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me,” Jesus replied. “The proof is in the miracles I do in the name of my Father. But you don’t believe me because you are not part of my flock. My sheep recognize my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish. No one shall snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else, so no one can kidnap them from me. I and the Father are one.” The Dedication Celebration commemorated the cleansing of the Temple under Judas Maccabeus in 165 b.c. after Antiochus Epiphanes had defiled it a few years earlier by sacrificing a pig on the altar of burnt offering. The feast was celebrated toward the end of December. This is also the present-day Feast of Lights called Hanukkah.
On Whose Terms?
The statement “I and the Father are one” is the clearest statement of Jesus’ divinity he ever made. Jesus and his Father are not the same person, but they are one in essence and nature. Thus Jesus was not merely a good teacher—he was God. His claim to be God was unmistakable. The religious leaders wanted to kill him because their laws said that anyone claiming to be God should die. Nothing could persuade them that Jesus’ claim was true. Jesus tried to correct their mistaken ideas, but they clung to the wrong idea of what kind of Messiah God would send. Such blindness still keeps people away from Jesus. They want him on their own terms; they do not want him if it means changing their whole lives. Have you accepted Jesus on his terms?
Please remember to bring in items for the Homeless ministry, place them in box in Foyer.