Yeshua spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. The one who follows Me will no longer walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – John 8:12, TLV
For more than three years, the light in the Temple had been unlit. The ner tamid, the eternal flame, had been, well, not eternal! When Antiochus, who called himself a god, had defiled the Temple of the L-RD, he had forbidden the daily sacrifices and the burning of the flame — along with all mitzvot of the Torah. But now three years later, can you imagine the joy and the anticipation the Maccabees and their followers felt when they finally had cleaned out all the defilement of the Temple and were ready to rededicate the Holy Place to the worship of the One True and Faithful G-d? I imagine the joy must have been tempered by the pain of the last few years — the loss, the loved ones never to be seen again. I can see Judah Maccabee and how he must have wished that his beloved father Mattathias had lived to see this day, the day they relit the Lamp of G-d. In 1 Samuel 3:3, that is what the Temple menorah was called — the Lamp of G-d.
On this exciting day, the first day of Chanukah, we commemorate this first lighting of the Lamp of G-d after so many years. By the faithfulness of HaShem, the Temple was restored, rededicated, and made ready for the coming of Messiah. This moment in history that we celebrate at Chanukah was crucial to the plan of redemption. Without the Jewish people faithfully following Torah, worshipping at the Temple, and tending the Lamp of G-d, there would be no way to fulfill the prophecies of Messiah.
They say Yeshua was in the Courts of this rededicated Temple when he declared “I am the Light of the World.” On this Festival of Lights, it does not matter how profound the darkness is around you. Yeshua is your light. The problems of this life, the pain of recent loss or trauma, the sadness for a loved one who has not reached this season, they may seem as overwhelming to us as they must have to the Maccabees and their followers. But look at that Light! That Light of the World overcomes the darkness in the same way that that rededicated and relit Lamp of G-d pushed back the darkness of oppression and persecution for the Children of HaShem on that first night of the first Chanukah.
Take heart I hear Him say… as I watch that first candle tonight, I know that the light will grow. There is hope.
Though I have fallen—I will arise.
Though I sit in darkness, ADONAI is my light. – Micah 7:8, TLV