The Maccabees: A Story of Courage, Faith, and Hope
Hanukkah, a season of God’s light and miracles, is probably one of the most well-known Jewish holidays, primarily because of its proximity to Christmas. But do you know what miracles are remembered and celebrated during this season?
Host Yael Eckstein begins a podcast series on Hanukkah, exploring the many lessons of faith that the Festival of Lights has for us, especially during this dark time when Israel finds herself at war and God’s people find themselves praying to Him for a miracle once again.
Today, Yael tells us the miraculous story of the Maccabees, and how their courage and faith in God were a huge turning point in history for the Jewish people. Hanukkah is a reminder for us that we never know how one act of bravery can be turned into one of God’s miracles!
In today’s episode, host Yael Eckstein begins a series about a well-known Jewish holiday that carries a message of faith, hope, and courage, and is so relevant for both Jews and Christians today—Hanukkah!
In this episode, we learn all about the story of Hanukkah—about the Maccabees and how they overcame the Greek army. We learn that during Greek rule, the Greeks heavily taxed the Jews and outlawed sacred Jewish practices, such as keeping the Shabbat, Torah study, circumcision, and keeping kosher. And Mattathias, a Jewish priest serving in the Temple, couldn’t stand to see the Holy Temple in Jerusalem defiled by the Greeks.
Yael reads us Exodus 15:11: “Who among the gods is like you, LORD? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” And that became the battle cry for all those who followed Mattathias, the Jewish priest, who began the group that became known as the Maccabees.
Even though they were much weaker and smaller in number than the Greek army, which at the time of the Hanukkah story was the most powerful army in the world, the Maccabees were strong in their faith. They were serving a much more powerful commander: they were following God, and in doing so, proving to us all what courage and faith can accomplish.
So what’s the spiritual lesson for us today? Every small step of courage we take can impact the life of someone else. We never know what miracles a small act of courage can create!