It Doesn’t Get More Exciting Than This (Week 47)
Have you ever tried to put yourself in the disciples’ shoes after Jesus’ death and burial? Over three years spent with Jesus—and all their hopes and dreams seemed to have come to nothing. I can’t imagine their shock and depression. They must have thought it was all over.
Everything changed on Sunday morning, which was the Feast of Firstfruits—always occurring on the day after the first Shabbat following Passover. Jesus was raised from the dead as the first fruits according to the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15. What an exciting turn of events!
Jesus then spent 40 days with the disciples teaching them about the kingdom of God. In his final conversation with them, he told the disciples they were to wait for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in which they would be empowered for the ministry He was calling them to.
But the disciples had one last, burning question on their hearts: Was Jesus now going to restore the kingdom to Israel? Obviously, Jesus had built this expectation in His followers because when He answered, He did not correct them—He simply said the timing was in God’s hands. Instead, now was the time to empower the early church to witness for Him to the ends of the earth. Clearly, Israel had a role but it was for a future time.
The disciples then remained in Jerusalem as He had instructed them. When the Feast of Shavuot arrived—the celebration of the harvest, called Pentecost in Greek—the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the early church, empowering them to begin gathering a harvest of souls that would quickly expand around the world.
Jesus had died on the very day the lambs were being slaughtered in the temple for Passover. He was resurrected on the Feast of Firstfruits, and the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the church on the harvest festival of Shavuot.
It really doesn’t get more exciting than this!
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About this episode:
Two of the most exciting portions of Scripture include the resurrection of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the early church. In-between those two events is a conversation between Jesus and the disciples that confirmed a future role for Israel. In the meantime, the church was to be born and empowered by the Holy Spirit to take the gospel of the kingdom to all the nations. And if that isn’t exciting enough, the timing of these events point to God’s design found in the ancient feasts of Israel. This episode complements the daily readings from our Walk Thru the Bible reading plan for December 20-26, covering End of Gospels, Acts 1-2.