The Pentecost of Acts 2 is a packed event that looks back on its past, clearly begins a new spiritual community, and focuses forward to the future, indeed to the end of time.
The story of Pentecost, called the Festival of Weeks in Hebrew, begins in Exodus 32 as part of a second chance. Coming down from Sinai to the debauchery of the golden calf, Moses threw the divinely inscribed Ten Commandment tablets shattering to the ground. Metaphorically, Israel, at the bottom of Sinai, had chosen to shatter its own divine-human covenant by idolatry. The young nation was already in crisis. In a miracle of grace, two chapters later, “The Lord came down in the cloud and proclaimed Himself…compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and, sin.” (34:5–7). In this conversation of love and forgiveness, tablets of the law are restored to the community and the celebration of “the feast of weeks and the first fruits of the wheat harvest” is introduced. (vs. 22).
Parallels - Origin - Festival - Weeks - Celebration
There are parallels between the origin of the Festival of Weeks and its transitional celebration described in Acts. Luke opens the tale in a time of uncertainty and crisis. Six weeks before, the One who declared Himself Ruler of the universe and Savior of a lost and suffering planet had been crucified as a malefactor and danger to society. As far as many could tell, His followers had been scattered or were hiding in fear of Roman and pharisaical reprisals. The tales of a healer who was not stopped by leprosy or death had changed to the anguished cries of those who had nowhere to reach for help. Observant Jews, thousands, from “every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5) followed their ancient mandate to appear in Jerusalem for...
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