Sometimes as we read through a biblical passage, we find a seemingly random note contained within. But it is never insignificant. There is always a reason the author mentions a particular place, a specific time.
In today’s Gospel, we are told the context for Jesus speaking with the Jews is the feast of the Dedication taking place in Jerusalem, and that it is winter. This would be Hannukah, the Festival of Lights. It commemorates the rededication of the second Jewish temple after it was desecrated by Antiochus (1 Maccabees 1:20-64). Only a single flask of undefiled olive oil was found in the temple after its reclamation by the Jews. This was used to light the menorah in celebration for God’s favor in returning the temple to the Jews. The amount should have lasted one night, but, miraculously, it lasted eight.
So what does this have to do with today’s reading? The Jews were gathered to celebrate the rededication of the temple, the center of Jewish worship. There in their midst was Jesus, the New Temple (John 2:19-20) and the center of our Christian worship. They were celebrating the miracle of the oil lasting 8 days, and yet for all the miracles Jesus had been performing they couldn’t see Him as the Christ.
In order to believe in Jesus, we need the light of faith burning brightly in our lives. Faith in Jesus brings light to our dark places, when times are bleak and when we feel lost and bumbling in the dark. With even the tiniest spark of faith, He will be there to guide us so we will not stumble as we continue to follow Him.
God gave light to the Jews at Hanukkah during a time of darkness. He sustained them beyond their reasonable expectations. He goes above and beyond for His beloved people. Do not doubt that He will do the same for you. As Christ says in the Gospel, His sheep hear His voice, they know Him and follow Him, and they shall not perish. We shall not perish, sisters, when we have Christ's light in our lives.
Jesus is that Light which has come into the world. The Father has sent Him as the New Temple to take the place of the old. “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shone in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it.” ~John 1:4-5
May Christ be your source of light whenever you find yourself in a dark place in life.
Laurel Muff is a creator and appreciator of beautiful things. She resides with her husband and daughters in Northern California. You can find more about her here.