Part 6: Unleavened to Feast
For the Israelites, fasting from leaven for seven days during the Feast of Unleavened Bread was an annual celebration to remind the liberated Israelites they had been released from slavery, unbound from their evil tyrants, rescued from oppression, and removed from Egypt.
For centuries Israelites celebrated the Feast of Unleavened Bread as the unleavened people of God. Just as God had set apart His people, they would set apart seven days to feast without leaven to remember their past, their identity, and their future. They were no longer people of the "bread of hardship" that Moses describes in Deuteronomy 16:3, they were people of the "bread of presence," God's presence.
Then Jesus took on flesh and fulfilled the feast of unleavened bread in His own body when He died on the cross. The Feast of Unleavened bread became prophetic of Jesus' burial and the power He has to remove the penalty, power, and presence of sin in our lives. We find first century Christians still observing the feast of Unleavened Bread, but Paul instructs Jesus followers to observe this annual feast with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
1 Corinthians 5:6-8 "Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast affects the whole batch of dough? Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch of dough—you are, in fact, without yeast. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. So then, let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of vice and evil, but with the bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth."
Hmm. The bread of sincerity and truth sounds hard to bake. I best get in my spiritual kitchen and get to work. And there it is again, my propensity to produce in my heart what only the Spirit has the power to do.
Do any of these apply to you?
- I feel like I am in a spiritual wilderness
- I’m craving things I don’t want to crave
- I have idols (There are things things in my life that have more of my affections than God)
- I’m immoral (I do things that are unhealthy and/or that don't work for the common good)
- I’m testing God
- I grumble often
- I'm hungry for God's presence
Good news friends, you're not alone in those struggles. In fact, they are so common, God inspired Paul to write about those very struggles in 1 Corinthians 5 by reminding us of the Israelites in their wilderness wanderings. And the Apostle Paul has this to say about our sin struggles...
1 Corinthians 10:13-17 "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say. Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread."
Jesus, our Passover lamb, crushed the power of your sin on the cross. This temptation you have now, it doesn’t have to overtake you. Let the cup of blessing pour over your sin and shame. Break the bread we share in Jesus’ body, and feast on His sacrifice. There’s enough for all of us.
After Jesus' death fulfilled the feast of Unleavened Bread once and for all, we find that Peter (the great Church father) was arrested during the days of Unleavened Bread because he was preaching the good news that Jesus was Messiah...
Acts 12:1-11 "King Herod cruelly attacked some who belonged to the church, and he killed James, John’s brother, with the sword. When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter too, during the days of Unleavened Bread. After the arrest, he put him in prison and assigned four squads of four soldiers each to guard him, intending to bring him out to the people after the Passover. So Peter was kept in prison, but prayer was being made earnestly to God for him by the church. On the night before Herod was to bring him out for execution, Peter, bound with two chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while the sentries in front of the door guarded the prison.
Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared, and a light shone in the cell. Striking Peter on the side, he woke him up and said, “Quick, get up!” Then the chains fell off his wrists. “Get dressed,” the angel told him, “and put on your sandals.” And he did so. “Wrap your cloak around you,” he told him, “and follow me.” So he went out and followed, and he did not know that what took place through the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. After they passed the first and second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened to them by itself. They went outside and passed one street, and immediately the angel left him. Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel and rescued me from Herod’s grasp and from all that the Jewish people expected.”
Yeah, that's right. The one true living God again proves He is the God who rescues. No one can imprison the gospel, it will break loose because the God of rescue will complete escape. Peter's chains fell off, and then he left the city as the iron gates opened by themselves much like the water's parting at the Red Sea for the Israelites escaping Egypt. What's that Herod? Maybe you should have taken a lesson from Pharaoh and let God's people go.
For many of us, the power of sin in our lives feels like a prison. We want out. Our spiritual hunger can be a sign of leaven in our lives, and as much as we try to remove it and feast on God, we find ourselves chained to these grains of rebellion.
Thankfully we do not have to unleaven ourselves...that is God's work. Let's make ourselves willing instead of trying to bite off more than we can chew.
In a season of great spiritual hunger, I started to follow the breadcrumb trail through the sacred scriptures to find the most satisfying bread for our soul: Jesus.
This led to an obsession with the 300+ times “bread” is mentioned in the holy scriptures, and you’re reading the results, a 16 part bible study: I.Love.Carbs.
Let's break bread together. You could start from the beginning here & be sure to sign up to get the latest blog post delivered right to your inbox >>>>>