Hebrew Highlights 12 – Pentecost
Shalom, this is Yuval Shomron, coming to you from Jerusalem.
Chag Shavuot Sameach, or Happy Feast of Weeks. Today, we are in the second day of this holiday, as described in NUM 28:26. “Also on the day of the first fruits, when you present a new grain offering to the Lord in your Feast of Weeks, you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work.”
This is actually only a one day Holiday, but traditionally in Israel, the children are off school for 2 days, partly to allow them to take part in various festivals held around the country, celebrating the first fruits. This year, the holiday falls the day before Shabbat, or Sabbath, giving us an extended 3 day holiday.
In my previous program, I talked about the meaning of Shavuot or The Feast of Weeks, and Israel’s blessing of various fruits of the land. I promised today to talk about the fruits of the Spirit, and the feast by its Greek name, Pentecost, which is more familiar to Christians.
As a young boy growing up in my Christian family in Missouri, I had no idea that the Feast of Pentecost had Jewish roots. Pentecost, in Greek, simply means fiftieth. Shavuot is celebrated exactly 7 weeks after the first day of Passover. It therefore falls on the fiftieth day after the Passover Seder meal, hence the word Pentecost in the Greek Bible.
In ACTS 2:1-4 we see that “when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.”
Now of course, we could spend a long time talking about the gifts of the Spirit, but our focus today in on the fruits.
In GAL 5:22 we read, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
We can be sure that on Pentecost, Yeshua’s disciples were “doing no laborious work”, according to the law concerning all of the Biblical holidays. They were in fact waiting for the promise of God to send the Holy Spirit. That promise being fulfilled on a Jewish holiday was probably no great surprise to them.
You may already be aware, that although the gifts of the Spirit seem to be granted to us by our Heavenly Father almost instantaneously, the fruits of the Spirit start as seeds, which we have to plant, water, till, and of course, wait for. In fact, we sometimes don’t even notice them in our own lives until someone else points them out to us, saying something like, “You are so patient, or you have a lot of self control.” Often we haven’t realized the God has been patiently growing these fruits in the field of our lives for years, until they come to full bloom, and others began to taste from them.
Now, although God must work these things in our lives, we do have responsibility concerning these fruits. DEU 16:16 says "they shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed.” Yeshua reminds us of this in a parable found in LUK 13:6-9 And He began telling this parable: "A certain man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it, and did not find any. And he said to the vineyard-keeper, 'Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground? And he answered and said to him, 'Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down."
We see in this parable that Yeshua expects us to bear fruit. At the same time, he sometimes is willing to grant us a little more time. In this case, one more season.
Some of the most wonderful times of the year in Israel are those days when the fruit trees are in full bloom. The smell of orange blossoms sometimes wafts through the air so strongly, you feel as though you may go floating away with it.
I hope that as God strolls through the fields of our congregations and ministries, he is pleased with the fragrance of the blossoms accompanying the fruit we are about to bear.
This week, in the local fellowship we attend in Jerusalem, each family will go forward, and place a basket of fruit in celebration of God’s goodness on this Holiday. May the Lord grant that our Love, Joy, & Peace, taste as refreshing as the Apples, Oranges, and Cherries we enjoy from His bounty.
Shalom, Shalom from Jerusalem.