by Fr. Dmitri, New Zealand
Sunday 7 June 2009 (30 Pachons;30 Bashans)
Birthday of the Church (Shavuot-Pentecost)
However, when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come,
He will guide you into all Truth.
I no longer fear God, but I love Him, 'For love casts out fear.' (John 4:18)
(St. Anthony the Great)
Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good, because
His mercy endures forever.
How much more will your heavenly Father give the
Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.
Humility can come only when you have learned to practice obedience.
Taught by the Spirit, the mind becomes our guide to the
labours of body and soul, showing us how to purify them.
(St.Anthony the Great)
The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Highest will overshadow
Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore seek not to
understand that you may believe- but believe that you
Triune God, grant that we may have a strong living faith in
You and in Your divine plan of salvation. Help us to believe
that we may understand and love our Christian Heritage.
(Augustine of Hippo)
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come they were all with one accord in one place. ( Acts 2:1)
Once again the fire of God appeared, but this time to His trusted friends. Peter the man who had backslidden and even denied knowing the Messiah three times, now rose with courage and gave his first sermon. The marvel of Messiah's Spirit the Ruach HaKodesh in the Hebrew ('Holy Breath') had fallen. The same breath that gave life to Adam, transforming him from a lump of clay into a living man, now transformed the lives by the thousands.
An important fact about Shavuot is that it is one of three pilgrim feasts when all Israelite men were required by law to come to Jerusalem and bring their offerings to the temple. On this day, as Acts tells us, there would have been Hebrews from all over the known world gathered in the upper rooms of the temple, Parthians, Medes, Elamites, those from Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia, Pamphilia, Egypt, Libya, Cyrene, visitors from Rome. both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs.
Peter spoke to the multitude, reminding them. "For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off.". Hence the key to Peter's sermon. "Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved," was proclaimed for the Jew and the Gentile.
While incidental to the message, not that Peter spoke of King David during his sermon Acts 2:25-36). Jewish tradition teaches us that David died on Shavuot, and this too, like the prophecy in Ezekiel who referred to a whirlwind, would have been in the forefront on the minds of the Hebrew men surrounding Peter. All of these events and memorials came together to touch the hearts of the unbelieving Jews, moving them to ask, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Peters answer then is as valid today: "Repent, and let everyone of you be Baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
Because Pentecost, or the Feast of Weeks, is associated with the giving of the Law and the coming of the Spirit, it is interesting to compare the outcome of those two events. We read in Exodus 32:28 that 3000 men died at Sinai because of the sin of worshipping the golden calf. Contrast that loss of 3000 lives with the New Testament Shavuot when 3000 men came to new life in Jesus 50 days after the celebration of Passover (Pesach).
The believers of Pentecost were worthy of death. But because their faith rested on the Great High Priest Yeshua who had made atonement for their sins, they were now a live part of the first fruit harvest, and the promise of Jeremiah 31:31. On this Pentecost all the Spring Feasts culminate in the New Covenant era.
Shavuot is also called "Atzeret shel Pesach", the completion of Passover. It ties together the first night of Passover to the final observance of Pentecost, continually reminding the faithful that God is the Redeemer and Rock of our salvation, the only One who who can rescue us from bondage. That Rock is Christ and upon that Rock (meaning Christ) will the Church be built and not Peter as many people misread the Scripture to mean. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him; bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
At Firstfruits, Jesus, the slain lamb, became the Saviour, the firstfruit of our Resurrection; glorified and dedicated, conquering the power of sin and death forevermore. The first harvest of mankind, 3000 strong, issued in the new era of messianic revelation, a perpetual spring season that permits germination. Is it merely a coincidence that these New Testament events correspond so perfectly to the pictures and lessons presented to us in the feast days?
And does God have pictures for us of the final harvest presented in the Fall Feasts: The Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles? There are no such things as coincidences, only 'God-incidences.'
To Thee be Glory and Praise, now and ever, unto the Ages of Ages.
Evening: Psalm 50:14-16; Gospel John 7:37-44.
Morning: Psalm 103:30-31; Gospel John 14:26-15:4.
Liturgy: 1 Cor.12:1-31; 1 John 2:20-3:1; Acts 2:1-21;
Psalm 46:6-8; Gospel John 15:26-16:15.
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