Sabbath in Jerusalem

In Hebrew, Friday is called “Preparation.” Jewish families do the necessary preparation to avoid working once Sabbat begins at sunset.

Tomorrow is Sabbath in Jerusalem. Consider taking time to rest, to read, to ponder, discuss, and to assimilate what you have seen and heard in the last ten days. You may like to read some of the Psalms that celebrated Jerusalem as God’s dwelling place in Old Testament times (Psalms 26, 41, 42, 48, 75, 84, 87, 95, 125, 127, 133, 134, 137, 137, 146, 147. 150).

Public transport doesn’t run. Some shops will be closed (particularly in the Jewish Quarter). Sabbat lifts stop at every floor so observant Jews need not press buttons. Synagogues will be open. So will the Israel Museum if there were things you missed. Some shops will be open in the other quarters.

The three festivals that Jews were expected to attend each year were these:

  • Pesach (Passover) was last month (11–18 April 2017)
  • Shavuot (Pentecost, Feast of Weeks) is 21 May – 1 June 2017
  • Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) will be in October (5–11).

On Sunday, you’re waking up in Jerusalem for the first day of Pentecost. It was an agricultural holiday, celebrating the first fruits of the harvest (Exodus 23:16; 34:22; Leviticus 23:15-21; Numbers 28:26-31; Deuteronomy 16:9-12).

At the first Shavuot after Jesus’ death and resurrection, something very special happened. Messiah Jesus had ascended the throne, after promising to empower his people with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1). People had come from all over for Shavuot, when Jesus empowered his followers. Peter proclaimed that, despite his crucifixion, Jesus had been resurrected and enthroned as ruler and king. It was the first fruits of the new harvest (Acts 2).

It changed the world. In rebellion against God’s reign, humanity had tried to build a city (an administrative centre) with a tower to take the power of the heavenly ruler for themselves. The heavenly sovereign confused their languages so they could not complete the project and take his power (Genesis 11:1-8). Once Jesus was enthroned as the true ruler, he reversed what happened at Babel: he brought people who had been scattered all across the world back together again, so they could understand each other (Acts 2:1-11). Jesus is restoring the world under his kingship. When his government finally descends, the whole earth with be like a new Jerusalem (Revelation 3:12; 21:2-5).

Author: Allen Browne

Seeking to understand Jesus in the terms he chose to describe himself: son of man (his identity), and kingdom of God (his mission). Riverview Church, Perth, Western Australia

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