It is Shavuot! Get out the fancy tablecloth! All of the relatives are coming for dinner!
It is Shavuot! Stores and schools will be closed
It is Shavuot! Memories of childhood Shavuot family celebrations!
It is Shavuot! I hope I get lots of presents!
It is Shavuot! Time for new clothes!
If you know Shavuot – then you know that these are not usually the thoughts associated with this holiday. For most Jewish people, Shavuot, also known as the Feast of Weeks, is a holiday that receives little attention. We could say that Shavuot is the “Rodney Dangerfield” of Jewish holidays. Shavuot does not get the respect it deserves. In its original context, Shavuot is the offering of the late spring harvest to the Lord. After the destruction of the Second Temple this agricultural festivals was losing its significance. Shavuot came to be identified as the commemoration of the reception of the Torah by the Jewish people. This gave Shavuot tremendous meaning. At Passover our people were redeemed from the slavery of Egypt. We count 50 days from the early spring harvest to Shavuot. This intermediate period of counting the omer represents the journey from Egypt to Sinai. Shavuot is the culmination of this whole period of time – just as Sinai was the culmination of the redemption from Egypt. One would think that this meaning would catapult Shavuot to the head of the line of significant Jewish holidays. But it doesn’t. Shavuot is still a holiday that is celebrated only in limited way. Here is the irony of Shavuot. The holiday commemorates the most important event in Jewish history!
For those who embrace Yeshua as Messiah, Shavuot is also an irony. Most followers of Messiah Yeshua do not acknowledge Shavuot. Even in the Messianic Jewish Movement, Shavuot does not get its due. Let’s take a look and see the tremendous significance of Shavuot for followers of Yeshua. In Leviticus 23, we read that Shavuot takes place seven Sabbaths and one day after the early spring harvest – 50 days. It is significant that just two chapters later in Leviticus 25 that the year of jubilee takes place every seven Sabbaths of years plus one year or 50 years. During this year, there is a release to all of the inhabitants of the land. In Isaiah chapter 61 we read that this release points to the ultimate redemption when the Messiah comes. In the New Covenant, it was on Shavuot, called Pentecost, that the “promise of the fathers” or the Ruach Hakodesh was poured out. you can read about it in Acts chapter 2. When Peter began to preach, he noted that this is what the prophet Joel was referring to – the restoration of Israel. It is on this date, that the 50th day and the 50th year come together. On the 50th day, the meaning of the 50th year finds the beginning of its fulfillment. When we celebrate Shavuot we are celebrating the favorable year of the Lord. We are celebrating the Jubilee. We are celebrating the moment when God brought release or freedom to captives. We are celebrating the return of people to the Garden of Eden. Shavuot is a celebration of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit; the first fruits of the restoration of Israel. We should be celebrating Shavuot with much thanksgiving and praise! This is a good time to take a spiritual inventory of our lives and ask ourselves if we are exhibiting restoration – the Fruit of the Spirit. What will you be doing on Shavuot? I will be reading and studying the Ten Commandments tonight (Thursday); attend a Shavuot service at a local synagogue on Friday morning; have some blintzes with family and then celebrate Shavuot this Shabbat morning with joyful praise and thanksgiving. We will be joined by Steve and Kirsten Schneider who will be sharing via song and testimony about the victories of God.
Make much of Shavuot, the celebration of the Ruach HaKodesh1