THE HERITAGE OF PENTECOST
One of the most significant events in the New Testament is described in Acts 2. “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place” (Acts 2:1). Then the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles and the other believers on that day, and the first Jerusalem congregation was born: “That day about three thousand souls were added to them” (Acts 2:41). Why did this important event happen exactly on the Jewish Festival of Shavuot?
Shavuot and the Pentecost To understand this event, we must see it against the background of Shavuot, one of the three Biblical pilgrimage festivals, and known as the “Pentecost” in the New Testament. This festival marks the completion of the seven-week counting period between Passover and Shavuot. It was not a coincidence that Heaven opened and the Holy Spirit came down on Jesus’s disciples. Something equally profound had happened on Shavuot in the past.
The Giving of the Torah and Our Christian Heritage In Jewish tradition, Shavuot commemorates the giving of the Torah to Moses. This is because the Israelites came to the foot of Mount Sinai in the month of Sivan. Since it was also the month of Shavuot, the rabbis deduced that God gave the Torah on Shavuot. Thus, Shavuot became the Festival of the Giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.
I hope we can see these beautiful parallels between giving God’s Word and giving God’s Spirit. On both occasions, Shavuot becomes the day when Heaven is opened and God Himself claims His people.
Eyes on the Cross