Over a thousand Messianic believers in Yeshua gathered from all over Israel to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Shavuot (Feast of Weeks) by coming up to Jerusalem to worship and fellowship together. A large outdoor canopy tent was erected in a field at the Messianic moshav of Yad HaShmona, located in the hills that surround Jerusalem. This annual event is organized by the Messianic Jewish Alliance of Israel (MJAI) and continues to be the largest gathering of local believers in Israel. This year, as in most, several groups of visitors from the nations, our brothers and sisters in faith, also joined the celebration.
Shavuot is one of the three major festivals where the children of Israel were commanded to go up to Jerusalem, the other two being Passover and Sukkot. Shavuot is special holiday as it commemorates the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, and it is also the day God poured out His spirit in Acts Chapter 2, which is known to Christians as the day Pentecost (the Greek name for Shavuot).
“You shall count seven weeks for yourself; begin to count the seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the grain. Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the Lord your God blesses you. (DEUTERONOMY 16:9-10)
This year, the holiday of Shavuot was on Sunday, June 12, 2016. Buses and cars from the north, south, and central areas of Israel arrived in the morning at Yad HaShmona carrying believers of all ages. It is a big family picnic! Families spread out blankets on the grass. Children and teens are running around. Fathers and mothers are seen holding babies — the blessing of the fruit of the womb. Young people are selling watermelon, cookies, drinks on a hot sunny day. There is a also a marketplace area where local ministries and vendors can sell books, music, jewelry, artwork, and other products. One Messianic woman named Grace told Kehila News Israel (KNI) that she was so excited she only had two of pieces of her artwork that remained by mid-afternoon. The annual Shavuot picnic also provides a platform for Messianic worship teams from various congregations around Israel to lead times of praise and worship throughout the day. Near the end of the day, there was a special time of public prayer led by the director of the MJAI, Chanan Lukatz, declaring and praising our Lord Yeshua from the hills of Jerusalem and openly giving thanks for God’s many blessings.