Summary: In Jerusalem almost 2,000 years ago the Holy Spirit was given and the church was born. A church can have the presence of the Holy Spirit or just pretend to be a church. A person can have the presence of the Holy Spirit or not. Do you. You can. Why wait?
Please stand with me as we go over our current memory Scripture:
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
And our memory Scripture “refresher” verse is:
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.”
Today we will be reading from Exodus 23:14-19
Today is Pentecost Sunday. Last week we talked about the Ascension of Jesus back into Heaven. That event took place 40 days after His Resurrection from the dead. And, Pentecost Sunday takes place 50 days after Jesus’ Resurrection from the dead.
Now, the Ascension of Jesus actually falls on a Thursday and some churches hold a special service on that day. We, however, simply move it to the following Sunday and the Lord is glorified just the same.
Resurrection Sunday and Pentecost Sunday were not always called by those names.
The original name of what we call Resurrection Sunday was the third day of the Feast of the Passover or the third day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
And, what we call Pentecost Sunday was the Festival of the Harvest. These days of remembrance were put into place by the Lord approximately 1,500 years before Jesus Christ was given to the Jewish people as their Messiah.
Let’s read the Words of Yahweh as they were given to the Israelites through the Prophet Moses in Exodus 23:14-19
(prayer for help)
Those commands were given to the Lord’s people as they are recorded for us in Exodus 23 but this group of commands starts back in Exodus 21:1 with the words, “These are the laws you are to set before them …”
What are the purposes of the two great Feasts we are remembering? Let’s jump back to 1,500 Years before Jesus …
What were the people of Israel to remember during the Feast of Unleavened Bread (bread made without yeast)? Israel was in bondage in Egypt and Yahweh had sent Moses to bring the people of Israel out of Egypt and lead them to the Promised Land. Yahweh had sent nine previous plagues but the Pharaoh would not let them go. The final plague would be the death of the firstborn of every household in Egypt and only the households that had the blood of a spotless lamb on their doorposts would be spared. They were to remember that night when Yahweh passed through Egypt bringing death to the firstborn of each household that did not have the blood of a spotless lamb on the entry way doorposts. And they were to remember the day they were delivered from Slavery in Egypt.
They were to remember two things; bread without yeast which represented sin and the blood of the spotless lamb that preserved their lives.
Now, let’s jump ahead 1,500 years to the Feast of Unleavened Bread or the Feast of the Passover and Jesus is there.
As we said earlier, yeast represented sin in the Bible and Jesus is the Bread of Life without “yeast”, Bread of life without sin. Only the blood of a spotless, perfect lamb could protect the firstborn in the house from death at the hand of the Lord. And so, Jesus the Sinless Lamb shed His blood for us on the celebration of the Feast of Unleavened Bread or the Feast of the Passover.
Was that just a coincidence that the sinless Lamb of God, the sinless Bread of Life shed His blood on the cross of Calvary 1,500 years later during the Feast of the Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread?
And, was it just a coincidence that on that very day, all the men of Israel were commanded to be gathered together for the Feast? The Lord God Almighty has impeccable timing doesn’t He?
OK, now let’s jump back 1,500 years to the time of the Festivals as described by Yahweh to Moses in Exodus 23.
Fifty days after the Feast of Unleavened Bread all the men of Israel were commanded to gather for the Feast of the Harvest of the First Fruits of their fields and vineyards and orchards! They were to give thanks for the gift of the Lord’s, provision for the year to come. This was in acknowledgment that all of the coming harvest was due to the hand of Yahweh, the Lord. They were to give thanks for the Lord’s provision that had already taken place and for the harvest which was still to come.