May 17, 2022 – Tuesday
REPEAT: Psalm 84:5-6 NKJV
5 Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a spring; the rain also covers it in pools.
Yesterday, when writing about these verses I wrote, This man is traveling to his once a year meeting at the House of God. I may have been correct, but that was an assumption on my part. Instead, as a reader pointed (and I should have as well), If you check the books of Exodus and Leviticus, you’ll discover that faithful Jews were required to go up to Jerusalem, for worship and sacrifice at the Temple, several times each year, not just at Passover. He was right and even provided a link so I would not have to read through the books of Exodus and Leviticus.
Being me, I researched it on my own and ended up at the same link he provided to Pilgrimage in the Time of Jesus JerusalemPerspective.com Online. I highly recommend it, as it is very informative.
A few things to know, the Festival of Unleavened Bread is also called the Passover as stated explicitly in Luke 22:1 and implied many times in other verses. The only festival we know of (there could have been others) Joseph and Mary going to every years was the Festival of the Passover as stated in Luke 2:41-42, 41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. In John 5:1 we read, Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. However, we do not know what festival it was. Many think it could have been a Passover festival, but more believe it was the Festival of Tabernacles. We are not told, as the purpose of this chapter was Jesus healing on the Sabbath (see verse 9).
Still, in John chapter 7 Jesus did go and attend the Festival of the Tabernacles and according to verse 14 it was only in the midpoint of the festival that He entered the temple and began to teach. But it was in verses 37-38 of this chapter we have these well-known words from Jesus, Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.
There was one other festival we read of Jesus attending, other than Passover, in John 10:22-23, 22 Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. I have read over this before and never paid attention, but the notes to the New English Translations tells us the following, The Festival of Dedication was Hanukkah or the ‘Festival of Lights.’ The Greek name for the feast, τὰ ἐγκαίνια (ta enkainia), literally means “renewal” and was used to translate Hanukkah which means “dedication.” And then additionally, this fascinating information, The feast of the Dedication (also known as Hanukkah) was a feast celebrating annually the Maccabean victories of 165-164 b.c.—when Judas Maccabeus drove out the Syrians, rebuilt the altar, and rededicated the temple on 25 Kislev (1 Macc 4:41-61). From a historical standpoint, it was the last great deliverance the Jewish people had experienced, and it came at a time when least expected. Josephus ends his account of the institution of the festival with the following statement: “And from that time to the present we observe this festival, which we call the festival of Lights, giving this name to it, I think, from the fact that the right to worship appeared to us at a time when we hardly dared hope for it” (Ant. 12.7.6 [12.325]).
Bottom Line: Note to self, careful on making assumptions and when doing so let the readers know you are doing just that. Nonetheless, grateful to have learned so much.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for the opportunity to always learn more about You and Your word. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton