Fasting: Passover to Pentecost (2018)

 

Fasting Passover to Pentecost

In years past, we've set aside time to fast and pray as a church, and those seasons are always fruitful for each person who particpates and for the church body as a whole. This time, however, we're going to do things a little bit different.

The season between Passover and Pentecost is indeed special. The circumstances of the original Passover were tied in with God’s redemption of His people from Egyptian slavery. On the night God passed through the land of Egypt at midnight, killing the firstborn males. The only firstborn spared from death were those in houses that had the blood of a lamb smeared on the lintel and doorposts (Exodus 12:22). This, of course, pointed forward to Jesus Christ— the Lamb of God—who came to pay the penalty for sin by shedding His blood in our stead (John 1:29).

The event of Pentecost was the “birthday” of the Church—the welding together of Spirit-filled disciples into one organism—the living body of Christ. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit moved upon each of the disciples to bring about the united story of the Church. Just as the Giving of the Law at Sinai formed the constitution of the spiritual commonwealth of Israel, so the visible manifestation of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples signaled the constitution of the spiritual community of faith in Christ. In the first case, Israel was brought together by the Law (rules of constitution), in the latter, believers in Christ were bonded together not by rules, but by the Holy Spirit within them.

The entire spring season, from Passover to Pentecost, speaks of God’s plan to harvest a holy people for Himself. First, Yeshua died as the perfect, sinless sacrifice. Then, He arose and became the firstfruits from the dead as described by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:20. Seven weeks after the resurrection, the dynamic manifestation of the Holy Spirit among the early Jewish believers became the catalyst for many to put their faith in God’s Messiah. The Jewish pilgrims at Jerusalem who heard and received the good news of salvation joyfully brought it back to their native lands. There, it was received by Gentiles as well as by other Jews, an the Church became established abroad.

How can you celebrate this season from Passover to Pentecost? It's a conversation worth having with your family. I encourage everyone to set aside time during this season to fast and pray. The test of Pentecost is not what happened in the upper room, but what happened on the streets afterward. “The Lord added to the Church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47b). As we celebrate the birthday of the Church, we would do well to contemplate the fact that our primary purpose is to proclaim the gospel. As we, God’s people, remain faithful to this task, the harvest will grow.