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Fun Fact: the Macabee battle of Hanukkah happened near the city of Emmaus. (Perhaps, maybe Jesus might have also discussed the amazing event with the two travelers on the road to Emmaus, some 160 years later?)

John’s Gospel reports that Jesus came to Jerusalem for Hanukkah. “The Festival of Dedication then took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in Solomon’s portico” (John 10:22-23). Hanukkah is also known as the Feast Of Dedication or the Festival Lights.

Some scholars suggest that this passage depicts Jesus as consecrated or dedicated to God the way this festival celebrated the altar’s rededication (cf. 10:36; elsewhere this Gospel connects Jesus with the temple).

Scholars explore many of these issues, and what matters most is a particular Jewish element in this Gospel. John’s Gospel reports Jesus regularly traveling to Jerusalem for God’s appointed festivals, affirming his Jewish identity and continuity with his heritage. Although this Gospel looks mainly at major biblical festivals such as Passover (Pesach) and Tabernacles (Sukkot), it also reports that Jesus came to Jerusalem for the Festival of Dedication — Hanukkah.

If you don’t know, Hanukkah commemorates the victory of the Israelite Judah Macabee and his very small army against the massive army of their Greek-Syrian oppressors. The oppressors ordered the Israelites to worship Greek gods. About 168 B.C., their soldiers came down on Jerusalem, massacring thousands of people and desecrating the holy Second Temple of God by placing an altar to Zeus and sacrificing pigs within its sacred walls.

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