Pentecost, Shavout, Mother’s Day

The Holy Spirit descending at Pentecost by Ant...
The Holy Spirit descending at Pentecost by Anthony van Dyck, circa 1618. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Shavout, a.k.a. Pentecost, begins May 14 (Tuesday at sundown).  Whether you acknowledged Pentecost last Sunday (as most churches did) or plan to acknowledge it on Tuesday, you can’t help but notice its proximity to Mother’s Day. I heard a sermon  last night that noted that Mary, the mother of Christ, was present along with her other sons at Pentecost. That means that she and her family spoke in tongues–languages unknown to them–when the Holy Spirit descended with tongues of fire. Rest assured, I’m not going to start a debate about tongues (although I believe that all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit are in effect until Christ returns and we see Him face to face–I Cor. 13: 12).

Instead, I’d like to highlight two mothers: Mary in the New Testament and Hannah in the Old Testament. The angel Gabriel told Mary that the Holy Spirit would overshadow her, and she would conceive the Son of God (Luke 1: 26). When Jesus was an infant, the Holy Spirit led a man named Simeon into the temple. He told Mary prophetic things about Christ’s ministry and ended with these words: “Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also, that the thought of many hearts may be revealed.” Mary watched Jesus grow up. She worried about His safely (Luke 2: 40-51). She prodded (or rather, pushed) Him into performing his first miracle (John 2: 1-11).  Three years later, she saw Him suffer and die on the cross (John 19: 25-27).  So it’s no surprise to find her with His disciples in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost.

Mary reminds me of Hannah in the Old Testament.  Hannah was barren and desperately wanted a child.  She went to the temple and prayed that if God would grant her a son, she would give her son to God.  God answered her prayer, and Hannah gave birth to Samuel.  After she weaned him, Hannah took Samuel to the house of God in Shiloh.  Samuel served God all of his life.  He was the last of the judges.  He anointed and counseled King Saul and King David.

Mary and Hannah obeyed God.  When the time came, they were willing to give up their sons for God’s glory.  Compare Mary’s prayer with Hannah’s.

According to Luke 1: 46-55 (KJV),  And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.  For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.  For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.  And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.  He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.  He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.  He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.  He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

Hannah Giving Her Son Samuel to the Priest
Hannah Giving Her Son Samuel to the Priest (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to I Samuel 2: 1-10 (KJV), And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in he LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.  There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.  Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.  The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.  They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble.  The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.  The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.  He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s, and he hath set the world upon them.  He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.  The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out  of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the  LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of  his anointed.

Happy Mother’s Day!


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