John 10 – festival of Dedication/Lights – the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, occurring during the Jewish month of Chislev 25 (during our December – Hanukkah often occurs near Christmas). The second half of John 10 happens two months after feast of Tabernacles (John 7: 1 – 10:21). Same place (temple area in Jerusalem) but a different time.
Antiochus Epiphanes (175-164 BCE) as a successor to the Greek Alexander the Great, tried to eliminate Jewish religion. He loved all things Greek. He replaced the Jewish faith with Greek ways/gods/religion. In 170 he attacked Jerusalem. 80,000 Jews died attempting to defend the Temple. People were executed for owning any written scriptures. Mothers were crucified if they circumcised their children with their children hung around their necks. Brutal. The Temple was turned into a brothel. The altar was profaned by prostitution. Judas Maccabeus and his brothers arose to fight in 164, and managed to defeat the Greek army and recapture the city and the temple. The temple was cleansed and purified. They found a single jar of oil that was still sealed and able to be used to light one of the lamps in the temple. Normally it was only enough oil to burn for one day, but it kept burning for eight days. In the window of every Jewish home candles were lit. 8 days of light in the winter.
My sheep hear my voice. The question is not pious. Our image of the Good Shepherd has to be heard in the light of this political and historical background.
Who is the true king?
Jesus claims our complete allegiance.