If you were to fall into a deep sleep and wake one morning and find shops full of decorated trees, stockings, and gifts, you would know it’s almost Christmas. Or if you woke to see lots of chocolate eggs for sale alongside baskets and colored grass, you would know it’s Easter time. But suppose you woke up and found everyone filling stockings with presents and eating chocolate Cadbury eggs at the same time. It might cause some confusion. Maybe someone was trying to make a special point? Maybe there’s something new?
That’s what happened when Jesus went into Jerusalem. It was Passover time—the great festival celebrating the Exodus. But there are also many symbols of Hanukkah all around. When Judas Maccabaeus defeated the pagan invaders and cleansed the temple in 164 BC, his followers entered the city waving palm branches in celebration. Now, we see Jesus’ followers waving palm branches as Jesus enters Jerusalem. Hanukkah was when Judas Maccabaeus and his family became kings of Israel. Jesus and his followers were bringing Passover and Hanukkah together because Jesus is the true King, coming to claim his throne. This is the moment God will set Israel free for good.
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