This Sunday is Pentecost, which is celebrated by Christians across the world. It comes from the word pentekoste, which means 50 and it marks 50 days from Easter Sunday. Its origins are from the Old Testament when Israelites were commanded to have three festivals a year–Passover, Feast of Weeks (aka “first fruits,” now called Pentecost), and the Ingathering. Pentecost was a way to give thanks to God for providing crops. It was scheduled 7 weeks from the first harvest of wheat, which happened right around Passover.
Like Passover, Pentecost took on new meaning through Christ. Instead of only celebrating first fruits of the physical harvest, it is now a celebration of the first fruits of the spiritual harvest. It’s very fitting that on the first Christian Pentecost, 3,000 souls came to Christ through baptism. The link to first fruits doesn’t seem to be acknowledged as much as it should and we absolutely should not overlook the strong link. God is the God of harvest. He provides out of his love for mankind. The feast was an annual requirement because God provides each year, forever.
Listen to Peter’s language: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord calls to himself” (Acts 2:38, 39 ESV). If we, the church, are faithful God will keep providing the promise of harvest for all generations!