In case anyone is interested, I thought I'd mention that Hanukkah ("The Festival of Dedication;" cf. John 10:22) begins tonight. Here are a couple of interesting things in that regard.
I remember a Talmudic passage I once read years ago (30+ years ago, to be more precise) that enjoined celebrants to light their Hanukkah candelabra (Menorah; actually a nine-branched Menorah called a Hanukkiyah) b’pharhessia (publicly, out in the open, as in, in their windows and/or assorted other public places). I’ll never forget reading that passage as long as I live because the word b’pharhessia is not an Aramaic word; in fact, it is a loan word from the Greek. That stuck with me all these years. I have never forgotten the word b’pharhessia.
Anyway, here I am, intending to preach on John 10:22 ff this weekend. I cannot begin to tell you my surprise at finding this same Greek word in that passage, which takes place at Hanukkah. (Joh 10:24 BGT) ἐκύκλωσαν οὖν αὐτὸν οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι καὶ ἔλεγον αὐτῷ· ἕως πότε τὴν ψυχὴν ἡμῶν αἴρεις; εἰ σὺ εἶ ὁ χριστός, εἰπὲ ἡμῖν παρρησίᾳ.
Tell us plainly, openly, publically. Wow, awesome that the word was used in connection with Jesus on the festival of Hanukkah!
Another interesting fact concerns the lighting of the Hanukkah Menorah upon which there are eight branches and then a ninth. The ninth is called the shamash (candle), or the “servant” candle. All the other candles are lit by this one servant candle. Is that not a wonderful picture of our Messiah Jesus? For he came as the “light of the world” (John 8:12), came as a servant (Mk 10:45) to give light to everyone (John 1:4–5), so that we might be lights to others (Mt 5:14). And we are to let our lights so shine before men; b’pharhessia, as it were. Our light is not to be hidden, but plainly visible. (Mat 5:14-16) 14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Amazing. God never ceases to amaze.