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In John 10:22, John mentions that it was winter and the Feast of Dedication had come. Earlier in the Festival Cycle, John transparently uses the various feasts to give a better understanding of Jesus to his readers. Passover clearly gives background to the Exodus themes running through the Bread of Life discourse in John 6. Similarly, it's fairly easy to see how John uses the Feast of Booths as background for the speeches and drama in chapters 7, 8, and 9.

However, what is the relationship between the Good Shepherd discourse and the Feast of Dedication? This one is less clear to me.

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Can't say I think that particular parable has relevance to Chanukka. As an aside, Chanukka is also known as the "Feast of Lights," and Jesus is "the light of the world" (John 8:12). –  H3br3wHamm3r81 Dec 12 '12 at 10:34

4 Answers 4

According to the Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary on the Bible, one of the traditional lessons assigned to the synagogues during the Feast of Dedication is Ezekiel 34.

It would seem Jesus' lesson is an exposition of Ezekiel 34 - He is the good shepherd, He will seek out His lost sheep - and so this is a lesson appropriate to the feast.

See Ezekiel 34:23 (ESV):

And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd.

This is fulfilled by Jesus according John 10:14 (ESV):

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,

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I don't know that commentary, but the haftarah portions during Chanukah are Zachariah 2:14-4:7 and (sometimes) 1 Kings 7:40-50. I wonder what they mean by assigned lessons, since it doesn't seem to be this. –  Gone Quiet Jan 13 '13 at 18:38
    
A quick Google search showed up levhashem.org/documents/hanukkah.html (see the third to last paragraph). I wonder if we only know of the tradition because of John 10, or if this is recorded elsewhere? –  Peter Jan 14 '13 at 4:33
    
After a bit more digging, most people who say Ezekiel 34 was a lesson assigned on the Feast of Dedication (that is most people who reference their sources!) refer to Aileen Guilding's 1960 book "The Fourth Gospel and Jewish worship". Unfortunately, without a copy on hand (and no good libraries near by), I am unable to go any further and find out what she bases her claim on. –  Peter Jan 14 '13 at 5:07
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+50

While John 10:22-42 in some ways continues the discourse running before it, the reference to the Feast of Dedication shows that some time has lapsed since the previous discussion, which creates some discontinuity as well. So while there might be a connection to Ezekiel 34, in understanding John's use of the festival, it's better to look ahead to the next exchange between Jesus and the Jews rather than necessarily back to the Good Shepherd discourse. In doing so, the reference to the feast is seen to create a fitting setting for the discussion that follows as well as allow to John to continue emphasizing Jesus' fulfillment of the feasts, and in particular of the temple.

Setting

The Feast of Dedication commemorates the re-dedication of the Second Temple following the Maccabean Revolt. According to Wright in "The New Testament and the People of God", the revolt, while successful in some of its aims, left the nation anticipating a Messiah who would overthrow at last the (Seleucid or) Roman rule and establish Israel again as an independent kingdom.

The Feast is therefore an appropriate setting for the question of the people: "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly." The political overtones of the feast, however, also ensure that Jesus does not answer directly, lest his purpose be misunderstood.

Fulfillment

While the Feast of Dedication is not one of the festivals required in the Torah, John also shows that Jesus fulfills this feast as well. Kostenberger argues in "A Theology of John's Gospel and Letters" that John writes a little after the destruction of the temple in 70 AD as (at least in part) an appeal to Jews struggling in the new environment to make sense of their religious practice.

While many at the time turned from a Temple-based worship to a Torah-based one, others still anticipated Messiah's coming to overthrow the occupation and rebuild the temple. John's gospel is then (in part) an appeal to those looking for a new temple to look to Jesus as a new temple. Thus John highlights Jesus' prediction: "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days."

Continuing this theme, Jesus fulfills the role of the temple in the Feast of Dedication. Whereas in the festival it is the temple that is set apart (dedicated) for God's purposes, both Carson (PNTC) and Kruse (TNTC) observe that John highlights Jesus, in verse 36, as the one "set apart" by the Father.

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When Jesus talks about being the Light of the World it seems to be on the heels of the Feast of Booths. During that time they would build tall 'menorah' type structures outside the temple and light them which gave off lots of light during the 'tabernacles' celebration. At least that's one possibility.

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You seem to be confusing Sukkot (festival of booths) and Chanukah (the holiday with the "menorahs", actually chanukiyot). I'm also not aware of the latter being lit outside the temple; the talmud talks about how they're lit outside people's houses. –  Gone Quiet Nov 23 '13 at 22:51

John 10:22 My master was celebrating the feast of dedication of Ezra 6:15

Third day After the NEW MOON, in the 12th month of ADAR, key word...it was in the winter....Bible Calendation is a subject many do not understand...

and the Bible SABBATH is the 7th day after the NEW MOON...go outside AND LOOK..

My master and the disciples , and their forefathers (Moses) used a LUNAR-SOLAR calendar...not a PAGAN SOLAR ONLY , Man Made Calendar.....in order to celebrate the SABBATH, and ALL HIS FEASTS...you need to go outside and Look to the Heavens to determine Time.....

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Please use less ellipsis () and instead actually use the space here to fully explain the relevant issues. This is almost impossible to follow. You can use the edit link below your post to improve it. –  Caleb Jan 31 at 21:13
    
What feast of dedication do you think falls in Adar? And where do you get the idea that the (weekly!) sabbath is a certain number of days after the new moon? I don't understand how this answers the question at all. –  Gone Quiet Jan 31 at 21:21
    
Ezra 6:15 temple dedication 12th month 3rd day (winter) –  user3417 Jan 31 at 21:34
    
Isa. 66:23 from one NEW MOON to another, and from One Sabbath to another shall All flesh come and worship YAH. google the HEBREW CALENDAR, and may Yah bless you as you seek the Truth... –  user3417 Jan 31 at 21:36
    
We don't do Truth here, only biblical texts. I'm fluent with the Hebrew calendar; Isaiah is talking about the celebration of Rosh Chodesh (new month) but he's not saying Shabbat depends on the new moon. Shabbat is every 7 days, regardless of moon phase. Rosh Chodesh is every new moon, regardless of day of the week. Independent cycles. –  Gone Quiet Jan 31 at 22:21

protected by Daи Jan 31 at 23:03

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