I love the fact that the LORD gave us a harvest feast before He brought us into the Land. We were nomads, we were shepherds. The last thing we needed was a harvest feast. It was like putting a spare tire on the back of a horse. But God made this provision as though to better tie our faith to His promise.
For years, I have been trying to get the timeline of events just right but I am still putting it together. On the Thursday of the First Seder, before Jesus’ crucifixion, the priests marked the best of the barley with a red ribbon. On Friday night, just before sunset, as Jesus’ body was being taken down and carried to a borrowed tomb, the priests went back out to the field and after a short liturgy, cut the best barley down, carried it to the Temple and laid it in a bin until the end of the Sabbath. Saturday at sunset, the priests began to grind and sift the grain. 11 times it would be ground and sifted.
That Sunday would be the Feast of First Fruits proper, when the ground barley, now made a loaf would be presented to the Lord. About that same time, our Lord would present His risen body to His Heavenly Father, as the “First Fruits of the Resurrection.”
So too, all the people would bring their First Fruits offerings to the LORD. Their liturgy in Deuteronomy 26:1-6 uses the verb “to give” NTN 5 times. One time stating “Egypt gave us hard labor” but four times saying, “the LORD gave us a land as an inheritance.” Three times the verb “to bring is used”. The LORD brought us out of Egypt, brought us to this place, therefore, I have brought the first of the produce of the ground which the LORD has given me.
Then something wonderful happened, the worshipper shared the food with the Levite and the alien, these were to landless classes. Jesus’ resurrection is a feast. His life is food for the hungry and home for the homeless and land for the landless. Those for whom the world had no room find they have been given a room in the House of the Father. Like a harvest feast before the land, the Resurrection is simultaneously ancient history and our eternal future, because one day, we too will be raise, to share in an eternal home. We are hungry now, so by the Spirit we taste the good things to come. They have started, they are arriving and will soon be here. But they are God’s sure promises, so it only makes sense to start celebrating now.