22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.
23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.
24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.
Dedicated to Religion
Always a scary thought for me. The Jews were celebrating the miraculous victory and deliverance from the Greco-Syrian control. A time when the Greco-Syrian king took control of the Temple in Jerusalem and forced the Jewish people to abandon their worship of God, their holy customs and reading of the Torah. He made them bow down to the Greek gods and according to the records, this King Antiochus IV defiled the Temple by sacrificing a pig on the altar and spilling its blood on the holy scrolls of Scripture.
As a result of the severe persecution and pagan oppression, a group of four Jewish brothers, led by Judah Maccabee, decided to raise up an army of religious freedom fighters. These men of fierce faith and loyalty to God became known as the Maccabees. The small band of warriors fought for three years with “strength from heaven” until achieving a miraculous victory and deliverance from the Greco-Syrian control. The Feast of Dedication is also known as Hanukah.
The Jewish leaders loved history and tradition, but it was the new non-traditional ideas that they had an issue with; like the fact that God had a new plan and it didn’t involve religion, but rather relationship. The Jews had regained possession of the temple, but lost possession of God’s purpose.
Deviated to Reception
The Jews swerved away from the notion that there would be a new way.
25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.
26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
Jesus had come to give a freedom that would remove the Jewish Priests control over the relationship with God and His children. No longer would there be a need to have multiple intercessors on earth, but through Christ Jesus we would have direct communication to the throne room of Heaven; this doesn’t sit well with religion or anyone else who likes complete control of the circumstances of life.
The victory and restoration of the temple began when four Jewish brothers had had enough. I see a little Greco-Syrian tactics going on in our own government today when at every turn they are removing Christian rights and allowing pagan rights to rule. It seems that Christ is no more welcome on Capitol Hill than He was in the temple that day. The Jewish leaders tolerated Him, but they really would just rather have Him gone so that they could once again have full control over the people. The religious leaders didn’t win their battle any more than those who try to thwart Christianity today will succeed.
Destined to Redemption
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
30 I and my Father are one.
We may have to fight a few battles of our own before Christ comes to claim the church and take us home. But whether or not Capitol Hill believes on Christ, they cannot control the relationship that God has with His people. Glory Hallelujah for that!