Jews and Christians share a very significant day today. For Jews, it is Shavuot (Feast of Weeks); for Christians, it is Pentecost. Both are rooted in Biblical significance and are foundational to our belief systems.
Shavuot is the fourth of seven major Jewish feasts described in Leviticus 23. Following Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread and Feast of First Fruits, Shavuot commemorates the giving of the Law (Torah) to Moses. This is significant because it was there at Sinai God (through Moses) commanded the people to obey Him and keep His commandments in order to be His “kingdom of priests” and “holy nation.”
That has been a tenant of the Jewish faith ever since. But, as we know, no one can keep the law perfectly. In fact, Galatians 3:23-25 tells us the law is not the end all, but is a tutor, leading us to Christ. Jews, though, look to a fall feast, Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) as a solemn day of repentance.
For Christians, today has a different meaning. It is Pentecost and, as described in Acts 1:4-8, Jesus Himself left a gift…the Holy Spirit…before He ascended into heaven. Take a close look specifically at verse 8:
…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.
As those saved by the redeeming grace of Jesus Christ, we understand that we are powerless without the power of the Holy Spirit. In fact, Acts 2 goes on to tell us that Pentecost came and believers who had gathered together received the Holy Spirit and, thus, the church was born and was empowered to do exactly as Jesus Acts 1:8 commanded: to be witnesses throughout the entire earth.
Today, we are coming out from under lockdown orders. In truth, the church is not a building, but the body of believers. We are not bound by walls. The Holy Spirit has not stopped working during the coronavirus, and believers have not given up relationship with our Lord Jesus. There is no question that more people have been reached through Gospel messages going out over the internet than ever before. For that, we should rejoice!
However, the lockdown has kept the body of Christ from being able to gather together. Hebrews 10:25 warns us not to forsake assembling together. Why is that?
Well, if you have ever gone camping or sat around a campfire, you have likely noticed basic characteristics of fire. When the flames burn down, hot coals are found at the base of the fire. If you want the campfire to continue, you add more wood to the fire, resulting in a greater collection of coals at the base of the fire.
When it comes time to put the fire out, what does a good fire manager do? He spreads out the coals. Why? Because, if left in a pile, coals will remain hot for a very long time (sometimes days, if left alone). However, coals burn out much more quickly when separated from other coals. If spread out, coals will burn out in a matter of hours or minutes.
The coals of a fire are great illustrations of us as Christians. Together, our fire remains lit and produces warmth. Yet, when we are separated, heat evaporates quickly. But, notice this: in Scripture, the Holy Spirit is often symbolized by fire! What if today, Pentecost, is the day our fire is re-kindled? What if the Holy Spirit re-ignites a passion within us as believers to be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth?
I wrote about this at the end of Coronavirus and the Emerging New World Order (found on the VISION 2020 study page), and it has been my prayer focus for the past month. I don’t believe it is coincidental that churches are re-opening on Pentecost Sunday! I believe God has a plan to reignite the church with a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Get involved and be part of God’s plan. If you are not involved in a strong Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church, find one and plug in! We are in a season of time we must be about our Father’s business.
May the Holy Spirit fall afresh on us all, and collectively, may our fire burn brightly, drawing all to the warmth of relationship with Jesus Christ, Savior of the world!