We continued to think about Pentecost this evening at Vitalise.
We recalled that when Jesus and His disciples celebrated Passover, Passover also marked the start of the harvest season. On the second day of Passover the priest would have marked the start of harvest by cutting the first sheaves of barley and waiting them in the temple to represent the first produce or first fruits of the coming harvest. In time they often prepared a barley loaf and waved that rather than a sheaf of barley.
50 days after Passover it was the feast of Pentecost which marked the end of the Harvest. This festival lasted just one day and at Pentecost the priest would offer two wheat loaves to God as the first fruits of the completed harvest.
We thought about the events of Pentecost as recounted in Acts 2 in the light of these festivals. Jesus rose from the dead at Passover on the same day as the priests were presenting the barley bread to God in the Temple. He is the first-fruits of the resurrection life which all who trust in him will experience both spiritually as believers and also physically beyond the grave. On the day of Pentecost itself thousands of pilgrims heard the apostles’ message and 3,000 of them believed immediately. They were the first-fruits of the Church the first-fruits of the spiritual harvest of souls. The first-fruits were symbolised the rest of the harvest.
At Pentecost the Holy Spirit was given, the disciples received the Holy Spirit and immediately engaged in mission and worked with the gift of the Holy Spirit to continue the ministry that Jesus had started, proclaiming the Kingdom of God.
Our prayers had a World Cup football flavour and we prayed for teams, players, Christians involved in the tournament and for Brazil.