Pentecost and Its Roots in the Feast of Shavuot
by Cheri Cowell
The Christian holy day of Pentecost, which is celebrated fifty days after Easter Sunday, commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ while they were in Jerusalem celebrating the Feast of Weeks. As described in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2:1–31), God-fearing Jews from every nation were in Jerusalem to celebrate Shavuot, one of three biblical pilgrimage festivals.
The primary event of the Festival was the carrying of the Bikkurim, a basket of gold or silver, that contained the first harvest of the Seven Species crops—barley, dates, figs, grapes, olives, pomegranates, and wheat—to the Temple.
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He told His followers to wait for the promised Holy Spirit. The Festival of Weeks (Hebrew for Shavuot) is the perfect way for us to commemorate that period of faithful waiting on the promises of the Lord. And the Day of First Fruits with its bowl of gold or silver holding the best of the season’s fruits as an offering to God is a fitting symbol of our gratitude. Our Lord was the first-fruit offering—Jesus made Himself an offering for us—a vessel more valuable than gold or silver, and His sacrifice was received by God as the final sacrifice. Furthermore, all fruits—all those who place their trust in Jesus—flow from this One great gift.
As you celebrate Pentecost this Sunday, may you be filled with gratitude for how perfectly God weaves His story together with such rich meaning—every word and moment was, and still is, instilled with perfection.