Read His Words Before Ours!
Those who know me well, know I will drink in the Old Testament again and again, never getting my fill. Of course, the richness of the New Testament is stunning, but without seeing the thick, deep roots trailing back centuries to the Old Testament, even the beauty of the New Testament is one dimensional.
It had been 40 days since the Passover feast where Jesus had unveiled the deeper meaning behind this age-old tradition God had instituted with His eye on the coming redemption of Christ.
Reminiscent of the 40 years Moses had waited, seemingly aimlessly, in the wilderness herding sheep before He encountered Yahweh; the God who called Him to be a Rescuer.
Similar to the 40 years the Israelites wandered in the desert, waiting for God to be their Redeemer.
It was 40 days Moses had spent on Mt. Sinai, waiting for God to reveal Himself through the Law.
40 days Jesus fasted, empty, in the desert.
40 days spies explored the Promised Land.
40 days Jonah preached to the Ninevites to repent and turn towards the God who loved even them.
All had been times of waiting, times of God patiently waiting for His people or for His people waiting for Him, trusting Him to answer.
But this time, 40 Days had been a period of filling and answering.
In the 40 days following Jesus’ victorious resurrection, defeating Death once and for all,
He appeared to the disciples,
He appeared to women who had devoted themselves to Him and His ministry,
and He had appeared to more than 500 others, including two men on the road to Emmaus.
At the same time. (1 Corinthians 15:6, Acts 1:3)
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Matthew 5:17
These forty days were like none other!
Then Jesus ascended into Heaven, leaving His followers alone, but with 1 more promise to wait for: Power from the Holy Spirit.
And so, waiting began again, but with a purpose and intent so focused, it was nearly palpable.
Death had been defeated, their victory was eternally secure.
They had the proof, had touched Him, eaten with Him, seen Him, walked with Him, taught with Him, finally understood Him, yet still an empty void was so deeply present.
They had the message. They had the commission.
But they had no source of fuel, only their humanity.
So, they huddled in the same Upper Room where 40 days earlier Jesus had broken bread with them and drank of the vine with them, before He laid down His body and spilled His blood as the perfect sacrifice for them.
They sat, waiting and praying, believing this promised power would come.
Believing that He, the Holy Spirit, would fill them, overcoming their frail, fearful, human weakness and they would be transformed into something entirely other.
Then dawned Shavuot, Hebrew for “Day of Pentecost”, often called the Feast of Weeks in the Old Testament, taking place exactly 50 days after the Feast of Firstfruits (commonly known as Passover).
Unlike Passover, where the bread was “unleavened”, Shavuot instructions were to bring an offering of two loaves of bread, made with leaven (yeast).
Fullness. Rising. Filling.
Accompanying the leavened bread was a drink offering (wine) and new grain, reminding us of Jesus’ words recorded by Matthew, “No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”
Jesus’ invitation to die to our old selves as He had died, and be awakened to new life by grace, not by deeds of self-proclaimed righteousness, was the new wineskins.
The new wine was the coming Holy Spirit.
Jesus, the risen Bread of Life, was ushering in something new, something full of power and purpose. Here on Shavuot, the Day of Pentecost, the long-awaited Spirit would be poured out in all of His fullness on the waiting disciples, and the world would never be the same.
Suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:2-4)
In that moment of supernatural filling, human weakness vanished as boldness overtook them, and they became entirely other.
Where fear had held sway, confidence became their identity.
Where unknowing had held them back, powerful purpose drew them forward.
Where unequipped had left them hiding, filling now opened their mouths to speak truth.
The gospel they had accepted,
the God they had seen manifested before their eyes in Jesus,
the commission they had been given,
the truth they held precious
was now unleashed in unstoppable fashion.
And the world around them changed.
Chains were loosed.
Freedom was embraced.
Sin’s grasp was left dead and lifeless.
Community was built.
Thousands repented of their sin and were awakened to real life in Jesus.
My Sisters, what if this were our story?!
The same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead and was poured out on the disciples,
now seals the heart of every single believer! (Ephesians 1:13-14)
His power, His fuel, His strength, His boldness, His purpose, His intention, His leading,
all available to us at every moment of every day.
What if we lived like we actually believed this?
What if we leaned in to this Promise we have already received as Christ followers?
How would our world be changed by the Unstoppable Overflow of His Spirit in us?!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!