Shavuot: Feast of Pentecost

Shavuot: Feast of Pentecost

 

 

Shavuot, or the Feast of Pentecost, is one of the seven feasts described in Leviticus 23. Originally, Shavuot was an agricultural feast. Eventually, it became known as the day Moses received the Law from Mt. Sinai.

Historically, the Jews would celebrate Shavuot by reading the Books of Exodus focusing on the record of Moses receiving the Law. Also, the Book of Ruth would be read because of her devotion to the Law of God. Today, this tradition is still in vogue. Plus, thousands in Jerusalem, after studying the Scriptures all night, will trek to the Western Wall, and as the sun rises recite a morning liturgical prayer.

Shavuot is celebrated in late May or early June 50 days after Passover. Historically during the Passover, after the sacrificing of the lamb, 600,000 men (Exodus 12:37-38), approximately 3,000,000 Israelites total, left Egypt after being slaves for 400 years. Now they are set free!

What an awesome sight after they left Egypt for the Israelites to behold God’spower at the Red Sea, then to receive manna from Heaven and water from the rock. Now, standing at the foot of a quaking Mt. Sinai in the desert they observe Moses, their leader and deliverer, ascend up into the very presence of God. It had been almost 2,000 years, since the time of Adam, that God displayed such communication to a man. Now, Moses is prostrate in His presence and the Jews are terrified. Moses was gone for 40 days on the quaking mountain. The people became impatient and disobedient to God and had made and erected a Golden Calf. The Israelites began to worship this image of gold and as a punishment for their sin, 3,000 died by the sword of the Levites (Exodus 32:28).

Fifteen hundred years after the Exodus, following the sacrifice of Jesus (Yeshua) our “Passover Lamb” on Calvary, the Church was born. During Shavuot (Pentecost) the disciples, being in the upper room, were filled with the Holy Spirit. Peter began to preach which resulted in 3,000 souls being saved (Acts 2:41).

Look at the contrast! When the Law was given, 3,000 died. When the birthday of the Church unfolded, 3,000 received “Life”. Paul stated, “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ (Messiah)” (Galatians 3:24). The Law, therefore, being holy (Romans 7:12) points us to someone greater than itself, namely Messiah. The Law is holy and we would not have known about sin except through the Law (Romans 7:7,12). “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20).

Grace reigns in Jesus our Messiah. Life, peace and purpose are found in Him. Therefore, Shavuot, or the Feast of Pentecost directs us to a truth greater than the Law. It is through the Lord Jesus and His shed blood that anyone, who trusts in Him, will be set free from the condemnation of the Law. Eternal life is the gift for those who believe. This is the message Peter preached on Shavuot, as he proclaimed Jesus to be both “Lord and Messiah” by virtue of the resurrection (Acts 2:14-36).

“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17)

This is the message of the Church that was birthed on the day of Shavuot. The Church is the mystery that was originally hidden, but now revealed. (Ephesians 3) The Church is the representation of the Lord Jesus on earth. Therefore, let the Church manifest grace and truth. May the Church reflect Jesus!