Shavuot And The Giving Of The Holy Spirit

Introduction To Shavuot

God’s calendar begins in the spring with Passover. We eat the bitter herbs, remembering the bitterness of slavery in Egypt. We eat the matza, remembering our hurried deliverance from Egypt and our need to remove sin from our lives. We remember the blood of the lambs placed on the doors of our houses so that death would pass over us and we could be freed from slavery. We remember the greater death of Messiah, our Passover Lamb, who died on Passover to take away the sin of the world – in fulfillment of Passover.

During Passover, we celebrate the firstfruits of the barley harvest. The Messiah, who died on Passover, rose from the dead – in fulfillment of the holiday of Firstfruits – most likely, on the day of Firstfruits.

Then comes the next holiday – Shavuot, the holiday of weeks. Seven weeks and one day after we offered the firstfruits of the barley harvest, we returned to Jerusalem to offer the firstfruits of the wheat harvest. This was a prophecy that what began on firstfruits with the death and resurrection of the Messiah would be extended to more of humanity. Messiah’s followers would receive the Spirit of the Messiah. The Spirit of the Son of God would live in them, dwell in them, take up residence in them and transform them.

In one sense, Passover and Firstfruits are incomplete without Shavuot/Pentecost. It’s not enough to know that Yeshua is the Son of God, and the risen Messiah, the ascended and powerful and gracious Lord and Savior. The demons know that – but they are not saved. We need to know the truth about Yeshua and then make a serious commitment to follow Him, become loyal to Him, to obey Him. When we do that, we receive the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2 informs us that 50 days after Messiah was resurrected, His followers were in Jerusalem to celebrate Shavuot, and the Spirit of Yeshua was given to the first Yeshua-followers. That happened on the day of Shavuot, in fulfillment of Shavuot.

Shavuot is about the creation of the one new man, the new united humanity – united to the Three-In-One God and united to each other in one great and eternal fellowship. This is seen by the reversal of Babel. At Babel, humanity was divided by the confusion of languages. At Jerusalem, on Shavuot, people were able to understand those who spoke other languages and came together in a new united humanity. Every human being is either part of the rebellion of Babel or has received the Holy Spirit and is part of the new united humanity.

Shavuot And The Giving Of The Holy Spirit

Shavuot is about God the Father and God the Son giving us Their Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal force. He is a person – a person without a body – but a person with mind, emotion and will.

When we are saved, this great, holy and eternal person takes up residence in us. He lives in us. He dwells in us – now and forever.

He does many wonderful things for us.

He unites us to the Father and the Son. He unites us to the other sons and daughters of God. He makes us into a new, united humanity, an eternal, loving fellowship.

He enables us to be obedient to God – something the Law can’t do. The Law is a great blessing, but it’s weak. Lawmakers can pass good laws, but that doesn’t mean people will have the desire or the ability to obey those laws. Congress may pass a law that all crimes must end tomorrow and people must love each other and treat each other with respect – but crimes will still happen tomorrow and people will not love each other and treat each other with respect.

The Spirit enables God to write God’s teachings on our hearts. At the core of who we are, we know God and want to obey Him. And the Spirit gives us the power to do what God wants us to do, and the power to not do what He doesn’t want us to do.

The Spirit guides us into the truth. He teaches us everything we need to know about God and salvation and how to live a successful life. The Spirit helps us understand the Word of God and apply it to our lives.

The Spirit gives us a new nature. We come into this world with a nature that is in rebellion against God, a nature that is twisted, corrupted, perverted; a nature that is inclined to do wrong; a nature that is incompatible with God. The Spirit creates a new nature in us, a nature that is like God’s nature.

The Spirit produces fruit in us. Yeshua said: Live in Me, and I will live in you (and Yeshua lives in us by His Spirit living in us). For a branch can’t produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you can’t be fruitful unless you live in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who live in Me, and I live in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.

The old nature produces bad fruit: sexual immorality, false religion, occult practices, hatred, quarreling, division, envy, jealousy, anger, selfish ambition, drunkenness and other addictions. The Spirit working through our new nature produces good fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self‑control.

Because He is the Spirit of Yeshua, the Holy Spirit transforms us into the likeness of Yeshua. He helps us love what Yeshua loves, want what Yeshua wants, value what Yeshua values, lived like Yeshua lived.

The Spirit gives us confidence that we belong to God. Now we call God, “Abba, Father.” For His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. The Spirit assures us, in His still, small voice: “You really are a child of God – even when you sin. Yes, you have missed the mark. You have made mistakes. You have sinned. However, God’s ability to forgive your sin is greater than your sin. So know that God is still your Father and you are His child”

The Spirit helps us pray – pray good prayers that God will hear and answer. That’s what “praying in the Spirit” is. And the Spirit helps us pray without words since we don’t always know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that can’t be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.

We’re sad, upset, suffering. We sigh. We groan. The Spirit of God feels our pain. He tells the Father: “Your child is suffering. Please do something about it.” The Father understands and works to end our suffering – but in His time and in His way.

We live in a satanically controlled world that is in rebellion against God and under a curse. It’s a dangerous world. It’s full of lies and deception. We need help to arrive safely at our glorious destination. The Holy Spirit does that for us. He seals us. When someone seals something, it shows that thing is under his authority. When someone seals something, it prevents that thing from being tampered with. We have been sealed by the Spirit of Almighty God! There is no force in the universe able to break that seal! The Spirit’s wisdom and power and presence guarantee that we will arrive safely at our destination. How wonderful. How assuring!

When we are saved, we receive the Holy Spirit. After that, we need to be filled with the Spirit, walk in the Spirit, live in the Spirit – every day, every hour,  moment by moment.

If we are living in the Spirit, we will love God and want to please God. We will know the truth, believe the truth and want to live according to the truth.

We will hunger and thirst for righteousness.

Sin will become more repulsive.

Worldly success and money will become less important.

We will have an appetite for the Word of God.

We will want to be close to God and talk to Him and hear Him talking to us.

We will want to be with our brothers and sisters and get to know them and be involved in their lives and want to help them.

We will want to submit to God-ordained leaders in Messiah’s Community.

We will want to proclaim the message of salvation to everyone we can.

The message of Shavuot/Pentecost is simple – receive the Holy Spirit, be filled with the Spirit of Yeshua, walk in the Spirit, live in the Spirit. May the good Lord work in each one of us until that becomes a reality for each one of us. Amen?