A New Kind of Harvest

Acts 1 records Jesus’ instructions for His disciples to remain in Jerusalem after He ascended.

They were told simply to wait. They didn’t know what was going to happen. For about a week, 120 of them gathered to pray and to wait.

They even figured that with all the teaching Jesus had given about twelve apostles ruling twelve tribes of Israel when the kingdom comes, they would need to replace Judas. So they picked a replacement, the old-fashioned, Old Testament way: by casting lots. That was the extent of the guidance they had.

A few days later, the feast of Pentecost came.

Pentecost was the third major Jewish festival, always coming fifty days after the Feast of Firstfruits, which immediately followed Passover.

That festival of firstfruits celebrated the first wheat or barley of the season. The priest would take the sheaf and wave it before the Lord in the temple, saying in effect,

“We want to bring the first and best of everything to You, because You’re the only One who can make things grow. We worship You and honor You for that.”

Then at Pentecost, seven weeks and a day later, when the grain had ripened and was harvested, they would bring two loaves to the temple and offer them to God with a sacrifice.

Pentecost, along with Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, was one of three times the Israelites were commanded to assemble each year.

That celebration – the time when firstfruits had been offered and the harvest had come – was when God chose to send His Spirit to dwell in His people.

Because of the festival going on, Jews from all over Israel and the Roman empire had gathered in Jerusalem. Little did they know they were about to witness a different kind of firstfruits and a new sort of harvest.

At Pentecost, the 120 disciples were still gathered, praying and waiting, as Jesus had instructed. Luke, the writer of Acts, described what happened next:

a sound like the blowing wind came from heaven, and a vision of what seemed like tongues of fire rested on each of the disciples. They began to speak in other languages.

This, of course, drew the attention of the people gathered from the nations for the feast of Pentecost. They, too, had heard the wind and the diversity of languages spoken by this group of Galileans. Some wondered how the disciples were able to speak the tongues of distant lands, and others simply assumed they were drunk. What was going on? Jesus’ promise was being fulfilled.

The very Spirit of God was coming to dwell in human hearts.

On this day...

  1. November 9, 2010

Leave a Comment