The spring festivals celebrate what God has already accomplished in the story of Israel and our Messiah. He commands us to celebrate every year, so we shouldn’t forget! Rather, when we remember what He has done, it builds up our faith in thankfulness.
At Pesach (Passover), we remember how God delivered us from slavery in Egypt. Members of our congregation invite others to our homes for a Passover Seder, and sometimes we gather as a community and invite friends from the wider community for a community Seder. Either way, we observe the commandment to eat matzoh (unleavened bread), maror (bitter herbs), and the Pesach lamb (Exodus 12:8). We say traditional blessings and sing joyful and even silly songs. We also remember that Messiah gave a new meaning to Passover–for He was as pure as unleavened bread, yet tasted the bitterness of our sins by becoming “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
During the week-long Feast of Matzah, ancient Israel was to wave a first fruits offering of the winter barley (Leviticus 25:12) to the Lord. On this day of Bikkurim (First fruits),the third day after he had died and been laid in a tomb, “Messiah was raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died” (1 Corinthians15:20). Our congregation gathers for a special celebration of our hope in the resurrection and our eternal life inMessiah.
Then,as Leviticus 23:16 commands, we “count the omer” for seven weeks until we reach Shavuot, which means Weeks. In Jewish tradition, based on Exodus 19, Shavuot is when God gave the Torah (specifically the Ten Words or Commandments) to Israel. In Messianic tradition, based on Acts 2, Shavuot is when God poured our His Spirit upon 120 Jewish believers in Messiah, then three thousand more who witnessed what happened that day in the Temple, and also turned from their sins and put their trust in Messiah Yeshua. Our congregation gathers to celebrate both the Torah and the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), and seek the Lord for more of these wonderful gifts.