What is a yearly celebration that is important in your family? Many families celebrate holidays with a purpose. Perhaps it is Christmas or Easter. Or maybe your family has a group of birthdays in one month that become a big celebration. Often, we celebrate milestones in life such as anniversaries or graduations. But each of these celebrations has a purpose behind it.
God’s Holidays for His People
God gave Moses a group of Holy Days, or holidays, that the people of Israel were to celebrate. These can be found in Leviticus 23. Lev. 23: 1The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, which you are to proclaim as official days for holy assembly. God gave the people seven of these holy days which came to be know as the Jewish Feasts.
All but one, Day of Atonement, were a day of feasting. These holidays were mile markers in the year where the people would remember their God and what He did for them. These people were farmers, and these special times related to the agricultural year.
Now in our era, unless you have Jewish roots, most people are not familiar with these holidays. They seem strange to us because we have developed our own Christian calendar for the church year.
Holidays with a Purpose of Foreshadowing
Jesus was a devout Jewish man and as we study His ministry, we can see that He celebrated these feasts. In fact, we can begin to date the times of the ministry by what holiday or feast Jesus was celebrating.
After His resurrection, Jesus explained to His disciples that He had fulfilled everything that had been written about Him in the law of Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms (Luke 24:44). This would suggest that we should re-read the Old Testament through the lens of Jesus. As we do, we find that our Heavenly Father foreshadows Jesus’ work on the cross. One place we find this is in the festivals that He commanded His people to celebrate each year (Lev. 23).
During the time of Lent, we intentionally consider the redeeming work of Jesus on the cross. We often think this was only a New Testament occurrence, but we have an awesome God who gives hints of what Jesus will do all through the Old Testament. As we look at the yearly Jewish Feasts, we begin to see that our merciful God had a plan all along. He gave hints to His people every year as they celebrated the commanded sacred assemblies.
Join us as we begin to explore how each of the Jewish Feasts from Leviticus 23 foreshadow the work of Jesus on the cross. To hear more about holidays with a purpose, listen here: