Three times a year, Jews still celebrate the Festivals of the Lord. The church world has just celebrated Easter, when we reflect on the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. For Jews, this season is called Passover, the Festival of Unleavened Bread and the Festival of First Fruits.
During this time, our Jewish brothers celebrate their deliverance from 400 years of slavery in Egypt. When they were leaving, Moses told them to eat unleavened bread because they would not have time to let the dough rise. They also celebrate the fertile season to plant crops in the spring. The festival concludes with a celebration of first fruits, or expectation of God’s blessing for abundant harvest in the summer.
I got an opportunity to visit the land of the Bible in February for a second time. Israel has a short rainy season each year that occurs during the fall. My Jewish friends were thrilled that I came back during the fall because the fields were green and the flowers were blooming.
This year, they also were excited about the abundant rains they were receiving. In Israel, abundant rains are considered a true blessing from God. I was told that the amount of rain indicates the amount of favor they can expect from God for the year. While I was there, the rivers were overflowing and the Sea of Galilee was at an all-time high. Judaism is the root of Christianity, so I took that sign as an abundant year of blessing for the body of Christ as well.
There are 50 days between Passover and Pentecost, which is a celebration of harvest. After 20 years of ministry, I understand Scripture better as I learn more about the Jewish culture. For example, Jesus Christ was crucified during Passover because He was the Passover Lamb of God or the propitiation for the sin of all humanity. Fifty days later, the Holy Spirit fell on those who were waiting in the upper room. This happened during the festival of Pentecost. Jesus appeared to more than 500 men at one time during his 40 days on earth after Resurrection.
It always has been interesting to me that only 120 believers made it to the upper room. He told his followers to go to Jerusalem and wait for promise of the Father. The Pentecost after His ascension was a literal open heaven because God’s power came down from heaven like a mighty, rushing wind and consumed those who were waiting. During the next few weeks, believers should prepare themselves for bountiful blessings and a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Let’s praise Him now for what He will do later. Expectancy is the breeding ground of miracles!
Deason is pastor of Liberty Prayer Chapel and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance.