THIS SERIES: BRINGING HOME THE FEAST
On May 28th much of the Christian world will be celebrating the Feast of Pentecost, in honour of the time when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the apostles. You can read the story in
Jerusalem was filled with people observing the Hebrew feast of Shavuot. This festival marked the gathering in of the grain harvest, and the giving of the Law to Moses [Deuteronomy 5 - 26].
The Law was central to Hebrew life and religion, and the Teachers of the Law had spent much time analysing it, to make sure it was properly obeyed.
Except that it wasn’t…
It had proved impossible to keep all the Law, all the time. In fact, at the very time the Law was given, 3000 people failed spectacularly, and were slain [Exodus 32:1-28]. The attempt to be right with God through self-effort was doomed to failure.
The Lord, however, had promised a solution:
“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time," declares the LORD.
"I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;
I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
And I will put my Spirit in you
and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws."
The promised solution was that God Himself, God the Holy Spirit, would dwell in His people giving them the power to live lives that are right with Him.
When Jesus came to earth, the fulfilment of that prophesy was at hand. John the Baptist announced that Jesus would baptise (which means immerse or saturate in Greek) His followers in the Holy Spirit [Luke 3:16].
Jesus’ ascension and glorification in Heaven released the Holy Spirit to do His work. The Spirit was poured out on Peter’s audience, so that having repented, they could have the His power to live new lives. And on that day, 3000 people were saved. (Note the correspondence in numbers between those saved because of grace, and those who perished under the law.)
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR US?
We may not spend our lives trying to obey Old Testament laws, but often we have other ‘shoulds’ & ‘ought tos’ which we try to keep, and our relationship with the Lord peaks and troughs, according to our successes or failures.
The message of the Incarnation is that God came to earth as a man, putting off His divinity, so that He could demonstrate what redeemed humanity could look like.
The message of the Cross is that Jesus died so that we could be forgiven, and be set free from the penalties of missing the mark—which each of us does regularly.
The message of the Empty Tomb is that Jesus rose from the dead, defeating every scheme of the Evil One, and offering us the opportunity to embark on a brand new life.
The message of the Ascension is that Jesus has been glorified, and sits in absolute authority over every principality and power, at the right hand of the Father.
And the message of Pentecost is that God the Holy Spirit has been poured out to enable us to live that new life.
And it’s all by grace—the totally unmerited favour of God! There is nothing we can do to earn any of it. Our part is to believe and put our trust in the perfect provision made in Jesus.
Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.”
Is this good news especially for you?
Are you feeling…
Then Jesus died with you in mind… and the rest of the blessing He purchased is for you too.
More on this subject can be found on these pages of the website:
MISSING THE MARK: OVERCOMING GUILT AND SHAME
THE HOLY SPIRIT AND YOU
THIS WEEK’S GRACE RHYTHM:
Lay these down before Him, then ask Him to fill you (again) with the Holy Spirit. (See the Holy Spirit and You page for help with this.)
LOOKING TOWARDS PENTECOST: FESTIVAL OF DECISION
PASS IT ON...
[Photo credits: Mick Haupt (magnifying glass); Slav Romanov (waterfall); Priscilla du Preez (girls chatting)
@ Unsplash, with thanks]
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