Ever wonder why the Jewish Community is celebrating Passover around the same time as the Gentile Christian Community is celebrating Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday? The answer is “Because they are connected!” Jesus’ Last Supper on earth before the Crucifixion was in fact a Passover meal. And what is commonly known as “Communion” in Christian practice, was an integral part of Jesus’ Passover meal with his disciples, as he broke matzah and lifted the Cup of Redemption. Now this month, God’s patterns continue to reveal that New Testament events parallel earlier Jewish events. We note that the 50 days from Resurrection Day to the Upper Room experience exactly parallel the 50 days from Passover to Shavuot. Pentecost, from the root word for 50th, is the term for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as described in Acts 2.
Shavuot is the Hebraic celebration of the giving of the Law of God to Moses on Mt Sinai. This is called Torah, the first 5 books of the Bible written by Moses, but originally written by the finger of God on stone. Shavuot is one of the three Pilgrimage Feasts wherein Jewish males were to go to Jerusalem. And that is why the disciples of Jesus were in Jerusalem, as stated in Acts 2:1. In Judaism, the countdown of the 50 Days from Passover to Shavuot (“Shah-voo-ote”) is called the “Counting of the Omer.” An omer is a unit of measure and barley was cut down and brought to the Temple as a grain offering, described in Leviticus 23:9-15. The countdown of 50 days toward both Pentecost and towards Shavuot, carries the idea of mounting excitement and expectation. It’s a preparation time to anticipate receiving from God something quite wonderful.
The best part or first part of any increase, or harvest dedicated to God is called the “first fruits.” Connecting Jesus to the offering of the first sheaves of the barley harvest is clearly done in 1 Corinthians 15:20:”But now Christ (Messiah) is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Jesus, in Hebrew his Name is, “Yeshua, ” which means “one who saves.”
As a Messianic Jewish Congregation, Beth Hallel Synagogue in Hoover is comprised of Jews and Gentiles who believe in Jesus as the prophesied Messiah to the Jews and Savior of the entire world. The celebration of the Biblical Feasts is done and taught in a way that re-connects Christians with the rich Jewish roots of their faith. Experience Beth Hallel’s Celebration of Shavuot and Pentecost Friday May 18 at 7 p.m. and Saturday May 19 at 11:00 a.m. Special guest, Beeson Divinity School Professor Gerald McDermott, will teach on these historic patterns and connections. The events are free and free childcare is available. See Calendar page 28 for more details.
-Rabbi David and Leslye Schneier
Leaders of Beth Hallel Messianic Synagogue
2230 Sumpter Street, Hoover, 35226