THE FEAST OF FIRST FRUITS
The Biblical Jewish Festival of First Fruits comes a day after the festival of Passover. It was given to the people of Israel as a holiday to celebrate the first fruits of their harvests. Because Israel was an agricultural community, they were to offer to God a sacrifice of the first fruits of their harvest, commemorating their gratitude and thankfulness for his provision. The people of Israel were not to celebrate this holiday until they were in the Promised Land (Leviticus 23:10). This was because they were wanderers whose food was provided from God, not an agricultural community who grew their own food.
This day was commemorated as a Sabbath (Numbers 28:26). The people were resting on this day as a reminder that God was their ultimate provider, and it was his provision that gave them a harvest. The people of Israel celebrated this festival through their generations. Even today in Israel, many of the people who work on Kibbutzim (communal agricultural communities) will celebrate the day with a harvest, feasting and dances in the fields until late into the night.
JESUS IN THE FEAST OF FIRST FRUITS
First Fruits commemorates the day the Messiah rose from the grave. Because it comes right after the celebration of Passover, we see this day often falling on a Sunday. In a sense, Jesus fulfilled the holiday through his miraculous resurrection. He was the first to be raised and we have the promise that he will raise us up from the dead too. In this way, we see that the promise of First Fruits is that there is more to come! The harvest is just beginning and Jesus will continue to raise up his people!
CELEBRATING THE FEAST OF FIRST FRUITS
On this feast day, we would encourage you to take the day off and rest in the abiding presence of Jesus’ resurrection. Because Jesus ate fish when he rose from the grave, many people will eat fish during breakfast, lunch or dinner on First Fruits as a reminder of Jesus’ resurrection. It is a wonderful day to spend with family and friends being reminded of the provision of God to his people, and the death and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus.