Passover to Pentecost – New Testament Passovers and Counting the Omer Week 1 Day 5
Passover and the other Feast are mentioned in the New Testament, most of them are connected with Passion Week and Jesus’ crucifixion. Luke, in recording Paul’s travels also mentions the Feasts.
Paul uses the Feast as time markers in his travels. Paul sailed after the Feast of Unleavened Bread in Acts 20: 6 and after the Fast (Day of Atonement) in Acts 27:9. In 1 Corinthians 5: 6-8 Paul uses two of the elements of Passover to encourage us to walk in “sincerity and truth.” He reminds us of the action of yeast and relates Jesus as our Passover lamb.
Luke in writing his gospel and Acts refers to Passover in chapter 22 with the death of Jesus. But in Luke 2:41 he tells the story of Jesus staying in Jerusalem after Passover and staying in the Temple. It is noteworthy that it took three days for Mary and Joseph to miss Him. This relates to the waters of Marah when Israel could not find water to quench their thirst. Luke starts Acts with the story of the Ascension which is during the Counting of the Omer and Pentecost. The other story set in this time period is the arrest of Peter and the angel releasing him from jail (Acts 12).
John was writing to show Jesus as the Son of God. He purposely highlights His miracles and he uses the Feast more than another other Gospel writer. Using the Feast as time stamps will give you another layer of John’s work to show Jesus as the Son of God.
John 2:12 is set after the miracle of the water being turned into wine. Jesus is in the Temple before Passover and cleans it of “yeast”, the merchants. He will do this again just before His death. From this story to 4: 54 is set in the Counting of the Omer. The stories in this section shadow those of first fifty days and the guidelines established in Leviticus 23. Nicodemus reflects the correcting of the “leaders” that Jethro encouraged Moses to establish and uses the story of the bronze snake to predict His death. Jesus and the disciples then go to the country and proceed to baptize the crowds, which relates to Israel going through the Red Sea. The Samaritan women is next, she symbolizes the loaf of bread that is offered at Pentecost. Drinkable water, food, and the harvest are included in this dialogue. This section ends with Jesus healing an official’s son which is a picture of the consecration of the first born (Exodus 13).
Advance one year to John 6 and it is Passover time, again. Jesus is feeding the five thousand and comparing Himself to manna and the Passover meal. This comparison serves to thin out the crowds, much as the forty years did to the “unbelieving” generation.
John 7 is set six months later in the seventh month and the Feast of Tabernacles or Ingathering (Leviticus 23:33). This Feast is set after ALL of the crops are harvested (barley, wheat, and the grapes and olives). (The symbolism here is overwhelming, and truth be told I am not ready to write on the subject.) “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment” (7: 24 NIV). Reduces the mindset that had developed a religion of works to one of seek God. Another reference to the Exodus is verse 37 & 38 when Jesus uses the water from the rock (Exodus 17) to describe Himself.
Several months will pass (to the first month of the year) and Jesus is at His final Passover in John 11: 55. Lazarus has been raised from the dead and Jesus is ready to enter the time of “tending the Lamb and getting rid of the yeast” before Passover. So from John 11 to the end of book and on to Acts 2 is one very busy time period, possibly sixty days in length. The timetable is a bit off but Jesus sending Judas away could be seen as cleansing the house of yeast.