At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” — John 10:22-24
The Feast of Dedication was not authorized in the Hebrew Scriptures. It originated when the Syrian ruler Antiochus Epiphanes defiled the Temple in 167 BC. Soon after, the Jews revolted, led by a military leader named Judas Maccabaeus, and retook the Temple three years later. At that time, they instituted this annual Feast we call Hanukkah. So keep this in mind.
In the shadow of this Feast, Jesus is back in Jerusalem. He walks around the inner court teaching when a group of Jews confronts him. There is no doubt they have the events of Hanukkah on their mind and the actions that led to the defilement of the Temple. I assume that they associate Jesus with a potential new desecration of the Temple. Therefore, they confront him because they perceive him as a religious-political threat, and because they outnumber him, they feel emboldened.
Public confrontations like this are challenging. They catch people off guard. And in these moments, everyone responds differently. In tomorrow's devotional, we'll see how Jesus responds.
But I think people who do this and confront others publicly and in an accusatory manner often have a poor understanding of what is happening in their hearts. Their unaddressed hurts and hang-ups drive them to harm others. They do this because they project past hurts into present moments and confirm biases that are not there. Thus some of the Jews still feel threatened by Jesus. Their religious biases are so strong they don't see that he is their Messiah. They are blinded by biases that result in a careless attack on God.
Today I want you to join me in praying that God will reveal our biases. That he will show us someplace in our minds where we have made some wrong connections about Him or others that impact our actions or might be causing harm to others. And let's be brave and pray it boldly because that's what a man of God does. He does not confront others out of his insecurity, but he confronts headlong the sin within his heart before it harms others.
- Are there any biases or preconceived notions that you may hold about God or others?
- How might these biases impact your actions or relationships?
DO THIS: Pray for God to reveal any areas where you need to let go of biases and seek a more loving response.
PRAY THIS: God, show me any areas where I have made wrong connections about You or others that could be causing harm. Give me the courage and humility to confront and let go of these biases and to approach confrontation with love.
PLAY THIS: Oceans.
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