The context of this text is found in the fact that it was the time of the Festival of Dedication (vs.22). Today it is known as Hanukkah. It is a celebration of the rededication of the temple by Judas Maccabeus in 165 B.C. and the (brief) independence of the nation. A few years prior (168 B.C.) the temple had been desecrated by Antiochus IV. The feast reminded Israel of that deliverance from their enemies. This Festival speaks, for Israel, to how deliverance and a deliverer should look. Deliverance, according to their interpretation, is the likes of their escape from Egypt and their independence from Gentile nations; a deliverer, the likes of Moses and Judas Maccabeus. Thus, they did not understand the Messianic message of Jesus (vs.24).
Weightier than their visible circumstances – the weight of an invisible reality – are this delivery and deliverer; Egypt, and the Maccabean Revolt for that matter, Moses and Judas, are but physical signs, shadows of the metaphysical reality of God’s worldview in this message and messenger. Jesus said that He told them plainly who He was, but that they did not believe. Not only that but, His actions gave evidence of the truth of His message and Himself as the messenger (vs. 25). Those who are honestly seeking God for His deliverance, and not simply a change of circumstance to support their own religious worldview, listen to the voice of Christ (vs. 27a) – the words and actions of God’s worldview; there is an intimacy shared between Christ and those who listen (vs. 27b).
Deliverance from oppression of circumstance is important, but deliverance from the lie to the reality of truth is paramount (vs. 28). The remembrance of a past deliverance is incomparable to the reality of life lived, unchanged and unchangeable, in a state of deliverance (vs. 29). This invisible reality has a visible essence; it has an expression on earth that counterfeits cannot fathom. The deliverance of Jesus as Deliverer speaks to both the physical and metaphysical; deliverance from circumstance as well as from the lie that circumstance represents. It speaks of a Deliverer the likes of none-other than God (vs. 30); the reality of the invisible Kingdom of God on earth. It speaks of words and actions through the visible church.