I had every intention to discuss the Hebrew word for cheese this week, but I’ve been delightfully busy preparing to lead the sessions for a women’s retreat here at Camp Keir in Prince Edward Island. The retreat ended this morning and we had a great time discussing women in church leadership. So this week we’re skipping cheese (which breaks my heart, because cheese is one of my favourite things) and, instead, we’re going to revisit the word SHAVUOT.
Today is the feast of Shavuot, and that Biblical feast has been adopted as Pentecost in most Christian churches. Shavuot is celebrated seven weeks after Passover. After 49 days were complete (seven days of seven weeks) there would be a day (the fiftieth) to thank God for the first fruits of the Spring harvest. Traditionally Jews also use this day to honour the gift of the receiving of the Torah, which the Bible tells us is as good as milk and honey. To commemorate the sweetness of Scripture it is quite common to celebrate with a slab of cheesecake (which I wholeheartedly appreciate!).
For Messianic Jews and Christians this day takes on another significance.
Yeshua (Jesus) died during the Passover feast. For the 49 day between Passover and Shavuot, Yeshua returned to earth and connected with His disciples for a little bit more teaching before He returned to the Father. One of His promises was this:
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, so that He may be with you forever; the Helper is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him; but you know Him because He remains with you and will be in you.
I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you. After a little while, the world no longer is going to see Me, but you are going to see Me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I in you.”
After 49 days of Yeshua’s ministry, He returned to the heavenly Kingdom, and on the fiftieth day was Shavuot/Pentecost (Pentekostos, in Greek, means “fiftieth day”). Of course, Jerusalem was packed because Jewish believers from across Israel came to celebrate Shavuot. It was, fittingly, on that day the Spirit of God was given to believers; the story is recounted in Acts 2.
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a noise like a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And tongues that looked like fire appeared to them, distributing themselves, and a tongue rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with different tongues, as the Spirit was giving them the ability to speak out.
Of course, there’s so much more to the word shavuot. To read more about it, check out the previous posting on the word:
Next week: cheese (I promise!)