The gospel lesson for Sunday, John 10:22-30, mentioned that Jesus was walking in the temple in the winter at the Feast of Dedication. The Feast of Dedication is what we know as Hanukkah which takes place in December. The Hebrew word for dedication is hanukkah. So this year we are reading of the commemoration of a winter event in the springtime during the Easter season. You will remember that Hanukkah commemorates the occasion when the Maccabean revolt over threw the Syrians who had profaned the temple by erecting an idol of Baal Shamen (an oriental version of the Olympian Zeus on the altar of holocausts (whole burnt offerings). In a war which lasted from 167-167 BC, the Maccabeans rededicated the temple and built a new altar. The revolt was led by Judas Maccabeus.
Jesus was walking in “the colonnade of Solomon.” This was the outermost court of the temple and was surrounded by decorated columns forming a cloister around the outer edge of the temple. The porticos were open on the inside facing the temple and closed in on the outside. The oldest portico was on the east side and associated with Solomon.
It’s here that some people surrounded Jesus demanding to know when Jesus would finally tell them if he was the Christ. They want him to stop hinting at this and give them a straight answer. Of course, as Jesus does in the gospel of John, he never gives a straight answer. All they need does is pay attention to what he is doing. But believe they do not believe he is doing the work of his Father, they cannot grasp the idea that he is the Christ. Their lack of belief prevents them from hearing what he is really saying.