In “preaching study” posts, I’m really interested in fostering a “community” approach to study and prep for the message, so please interact as much as you like. All Scripture quotes are from the TNIV unless otherwise noted. Thanks!
In the area of “cultural cues” in my first post, I raised up the day of Pentecost as a cultural reference in need of explanation. I was reading NT Wright’s new book, Surprised by Hope tonight (yes, I do intend to continue blogging it) and he talks about it there on page 98.
According to Wright, there are two basic roles/meanings of the Passover and Pentecost feasts/festivals: harvest and salvation-history.
“Passover was the time when the first crop of barley was presented before the Lord. Pentecost, seven weeks later, was the time when the firstfruits of the wheat harvest were presented. The offering of the firstfruits signifies the great harvest still to come.”
“Passover commemorated Israel coming out of Egypt while Pentecost, seven weeks later, commemorated the arrival as Sinai and the giving of Torah.”
“The two strands were woven together since part of God’s promise in liberating Israel and giving it the law was that Israel would inherit the land and that the land would be fruitful.”
So, the first place my mind goes is to thinking about the Cross and Resurrection in relation to the Exodus event (I’ve been pondering those connections for a few years now) and the gift of the Holy Spirit in relation to the giving of the Torah. The Law came as a gift, constituting them as a people–God’s people, and giving guidance for their life before God, with one another, and for the sake of others. Likewise, the Spirit comes as gift to us, constituting the Church as God’s people, guiding and ordering our life before God, with one another, and for the sake of others.