Jewish people commemorate the giving of the Law in the Old Testament on the Feast of Pentecost, 50 days after Passover. It is still a holiday in Israel, and celebrated by Jewish people around the world. It is one of seven feasts they honor throughout the year. I remember discussing Pentecost in a Sunday school class at a Protestant denomination over 40 years ago while I was in Junior High. We read in the New Testament how the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles as they spoke to the crowds in Jerusalem. I did not give much thought at the time what it meant to Jewish believers. I just knew it as the day God poured out His Spirit into the world.
This morning I attended a Protestant worship whose liturgy included readings and a lesson concerning Pentecost as written about in the Book of Acts. Many in attendance had worn red articles of clothing symbolic of the Holy Spirit. I had taken with me a small burgundy red blanket to drape over my shoulders during communion. My way of inviting the Holy Spirit into my life; into my heart. The readings and lesson reflected on the new law that Christ had brought into the world, a law within our hearts. The written law that the Jews had observed for centuries was not to be ignored but a new law as witnessed by Christ had been ushered in. One that fulfilled the old law so to speak because all the hopes, purposes, intentions and directions that the old law tried to accomplish in bringing the Jewish people into relation with God were brought to greater meaning with the sacrifice of Christ. God’s desire for his people, the Jews, to be in relation with him had been initiated with the writings of the Old Testament prophets. After Christ death and resurrection, seven weeks later on the day of Pentecost, all peoples of the world were invited into God’s Kingdom. Christ promised his apostles he would send his Spirit into the world to those who believed in him. Long before Christ lived this had actually been prophesied in the Old Testament in the Book of Joel.
“I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Young men will see visions. In those days, I will pour out my Spirit even of servants, men and women alike.”
Joel 2: 28-29
The little blanket I took with me to the assembly of believers has some small words embroidered towards one of the corners that reads “Freedom is Not Free.” My Father-in-Law gave the blanket to my wife because he received it as a gift for giving to an organization to help wounded Veterans. He gives to a lot of charities so he receives a lot of thank you gifts. I like the little blanket because it not only reminds me of the sacrifice that our Veterans have made for our freedom, but it reminds me of the price our Savior paid for our freedom from sin. Tomorrow is Memorial Day, the day to commemorate those of our nation who died in our wars. That blanket will be used again tomorrow. I also use it many times each week in devotional time as I remind myself of the sacrifice others have made for me, including the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus who won the war over Satan and his Kingdom.