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Yeshua - the Reason for the Season?

Written by Leon Clymer on . Posted in Hanukkah

Messianic Judaism honors the Messiah Yeshua in our observances of the biblical feasts, from Passover to Succot, and rightly so, because he fulfills them all.

Yeshua is the Lamb of Passover, the "wave-offerings" of First Fruits and Shavuot. The sound of the shofar during Feast of Trumpets is a reminder that he is coming again. He is our sin-offering on Yom Kippur. The Feast of Succot is the season of his birth. Yeshua the Messiah magnifies these great biblical feasts, making them even more meaningful for the believer.

Is Yeshua the reason for this season, the season of Chanukah? Chanukah, a non-biblical feast, is celebrated as a reminder of the brave Jewish freedom fighters who overthrew their pagan rulers and prevented the elimination of Judaism and the nation of Israel. The candles of a nine-branch Menorah are lighted every year to remember this great event. Eight candles are kindled for the eight days of Chanukah by the servant candle, the "Shamash". How does Yeshua of Nazareth relate to the celebration of Chanukah, the Feast of Dedication?

There are at least two connections between Yeshua and Chanukah. I believe that Chanukah helps to emphasize the Jewishness of Yeshua. The scriptures clearly show that the Messiah Yeshua was born of a Jewish mother, he is a descendant of King David, and belongs to the Tribe of Judah. His coming was foretold by the Jewish Prophets. All of these things confirm his Jewishness. However, the "clincher" for me is his observance of the Feast of Dedication (Chanukah) as related in John 10: 22,23. The fact that he traveled, in the middle of winter, from Galilee to Jerusalem, tells me that Yeshua was serious about his Jewishness.

Another aspect of Chanukah that Yeshua fulfills is that of the Servant Candle (Shamash). He taught his disciples to serve others as he did. He preached the virtues of humbleness and holiness. His ministry was to the lowest of humanity, bringing light to those in darkness. The Servant Candle is a picture of the Suffering Servant Messiah as prophesied by Isaiah: "But he was pierced through for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the chastening for our well-being fell upon him, and by his scourging, we are healed". Isaiah 53:5.

The Messiah Yeshua fulfills Chanukah as He does the great biblical feasts. As we kindle our Chanukah candles, let us remember this shining son of Israel, who loved his people and lived out the message of the Servant Candle of Chanukah. Yeshua is truly the reason for this season.