In the Jewish calendar, the Feast of Unleavened bread immediately follows the Passover (see Leviticus 23). On the evening following the first Passover, God instructed his people to leave Egypt quickly leaving no time for the leavening of bread – just grab and go! The feast was to be seven days long and serve as a memorial to God’s deliverance of his people from bondage and slavery. Every household was called to remove all yeast from their home. Besides the practical element of taking unleavened bread to aid a hasty departure, we cannot help but think of the use of leaven in the rest of Scripture. It most often has a negative connotation; reflecting false teaching, ungodly influence, and sin. In Matthew 16 Jesus warned his disciples to beware of the “leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Think of what the Exodus must have felt like to an Israelite, now free from Egyptian tyranny they had a new lease on life – a new work of God’s creation, remembered now by a seven-day feast echoing his first creation.
It is no surprise that Paul picks up the themes of these two feasts to exhort the early church at Corinth writing:
“Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Cor. 5:6b-8)”
We are also the work of God’s creation, liberated from the bondage of sin, and freed to “walk in newness of live”. He calls us out of our old leavened lives to new unleavened lives!
Something to Apply:
Paul is instructing us to live out the implications of our “Passover”, to no longer be characterized by “malice and wickedness” but rather “sincerity and truth”.