March 29, 2004
"For seven days you are to eat bread made without
yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your
houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it
from the first day through the seventh must be cut off
from Israel" (Shemot / Exodus 12:15).
Passover this year begins the evening of April 5. Many
Jewish households around the world follow the biblical
directive to remove yeast and yeast products from
their homes, and eat only matza (unleavened bread) for
the duration of the festival.
This custom is what Paul has in mind in his letter to
the congregation in the ancient city of Corinth:
"Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a
little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?
Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch
without yeast - as you really are. For the Messiah,
our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let
us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the
yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without
yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth" (1
This congregation was tolerating the presence of some
serious wrongs. They seemed to believe that their
tolerance of those wrongs was to their credit. They
failed to see how the whole congregation was being
affected by these wrongs. Paul urged them to radically
deal with the situation, so that the congregation
could be free from the negative consequence of the
evil working in their midst.
Using the yeast analogy is interesting, because once
yeast gets into a batch of dough, it cannot be
removed. The whole batch becomes leavened as a result.
When preparing our homes for Passover, whatever is
leavened must be removed. Yet in the case of the
congregation at Corinth, even though they had been
adversely affected by the evil in their midst, there
was still hope of restoration for them. They had the
opportunity to start over again.
That's one of the most wonderful benefits of knowing
the Messiah. When Yeshua gave himself in fulfillment
of the Passover sacrifice, he opened the way for us to
be forgiven and restored to a right relationship with
God. The effectiveness of what he did goes beyond a
one-time spiritual experience on our part. As we live
out our lives with him, we undergo a continual process
of forgiveness and restoration.
Whenever we find ourselves infected with all sorts of
evil, the power of the Messiah is available to us
individually and corporately to be restored to a state
But in order to experience God's restoration power, we
must remove the infectious yeast from our midst. Just
like how at Passover, yeast has to be removed from our
homes, we must do our part in dealing with those
things that are not good in our lives. The wonderful
thing is that as we do this, and as we allow God to
work in our lives, we know we can start over...again