Preparing for Pentecost

Day 1 of 5 • This day’s reading


The Origin of Pentecost

The word Pentecost comes from the Greek, meaning 50 days but it refers to the Jewish feast called Shavuot, meaning week or seven. These terms refer to the fact that this Feast, the second of Israel's three holy feast seasons, comes after a week of weeks or seven weeks after Passover, and is celebrated on the day after or the 50th day.

Shavuot is a harvest festival and marks the time that Israel came out of Egypt (10 day journey) and waited another 40 days at the foot of Mt. Sinai for Moses to come down and give them the Law. It is a Summer festival and coincides with the wheat harvest. Shavout (Passover) was celebrated with the offering of new grain and a wave offering of two loaves of bread. In the New Testament the Holy Spirit was poured out on the early believers on the day of Pentecost that came 50 days after Jesus was crucified as our Passover lamb.

As we prepare to observe Pentecost it is good to have this imagery in mind: the giving of the Law, the grain harvest, the offerings, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The Jews count the Omer, which is a literal and verbal counting of each of the 49 days before Shavuot. It is their way of preparing for Pentecost.  

Today we can prepare ourselves for another Pentecost by counting the days and looking forward to this feast with the expectation of receiving afresh from the Lord. What are you expecting from the Lord? A fresh revelation of Himself, a harvest of blessings or a fresh outpouring of His Holy Spirit? Prepare for Pentecost!