Today is Pentecost Sunday, the day Christians remember the coming of the Holy Spirit. The story is told in Acts chapter 2.
50 days following Passover Jews celebrate the high holy feast called Shavuot, or Pentecost, to commemorate when God gave the Law through Moses to the Jewish people, carving the 10 Commandments in stone. We remembered that feast Wednesday this last week. God’s Law (Torah) contains hundreds of stipulations covering every aspect of life. These detailed laws are a fence keeping the Jews back from the precipice of disobedience.
While the Law carved on stones was a great gift the Prophet Jeremiah promised that one day God would do something even more wonderful – he would carve his law INSIDE the hearts of his people.
“This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people (Jeremiah 31:33).”
This “law in our hearts” takes the fence from outside to inside, so that our motives and desires not just our behaviors conform to God’s plan.
This is what Christians believe happened on Pentecost Sunday. We believe that the coming of the Holy Spirit in power and fire brought the fence of God’s Torah into our hearts. This fulfilled the promises of Shavuot. Now God doesn’t have to restrain our behaviors, he can lead and guide us with the Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit God now lives within his people, making us, not a physical building, his temple.
Today we remember that all those who welcome the Holy Spirit are free from the Law. We are free not to ignore the Law but to have the Law INSIDE us, compelling our desires not constraining and restraining our actions. Pentecost means that we are guided by God with our will, not against it. We are free to fulfill the Law because Jesus himself has already completed it, and then by living in us living it through us.
“God we thank you for the power and purpose of Pentecost. We thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to be with, in, and upon us. We thank you that the Spirit has come to write you Law, your will upon our hearts. This means we are free, not compelled to follow you! Thank you for the freedom of Pentecost. Thank you for the sweet presence of your Spirit, that you guide us and comfort us, and teach us, and grant us power to live Jesus’ character and Jesus’ actions. Renew again the vividness of Pentecost in our lives and in our churches. We ask for a reawakening of this great gift. Come, Holy Spirit and once again fulfill the promises of Shavuot! In Jesus!”