Today, of course, I am focussing on the fact that is, what we like to call, resurrection Sunday !!
I’ve been mulling over a couple of things :
– Does it matter that these aren’t the actual days that Jesus died and was raised to life?
– Should we actually be particular about celebrating on the actual days, which I think this year were Wednesday through to Friday.
I realise there are a couple of ways to look at this.. possibly more than a couple. One is to be careful not be basing my thoughts under a Religious spirit. We HAVE to do this and HAVE to do that, etc. Also, Easter, along with the celebrations of what most of us call Christmas, shouldn’t be kept, or penned into, these particular times. We should have the gift of Jesus to us in the form of a human baby, as well as His sacrifice at ‘Easter’, at the forefront of our minds at ALL times, not just in April & December.
I’m in the middle of a Beth Moore study at the moment… covering the Psalms of Ascent. Psalm 120-134. Fascinating… I highly recommend.
In the second session, it began to cover ‘The 3 Pilgrim’s feasts’ – Passover, The Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Feast of First Fruits.
It is interesting to note that Jesus himself, along with His family, as a Jewish family, would have attended each of these feasts each year of His 33yrs here on earth. They travelled to attend these feasts, hence why they are called the Pilgrim’s feasts.
It would certainly seem that Jesus Himself has almost become the PICTURE of these three feasts.
Looking at the term ‘Leaven’, or ‘yeast’ , a possible transliteration is ‘sour’. If we look at Matthew 16 vs 6, we read that Jesus said “Watch and Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” ESV. I’m more than confident that he wasn’t talking about their bread here. He was talking about what was in their hearts. The NLT says ‘yeast’ in place of leaven.
It is suggested that as New Testament believers, we are to celebrate Passover by getting the ‘yeast’ or ‘leaven’ out of our lives. It was so strongly noted to celebrate Passover with unleavened Bread. Luke 2 vs 19. The broken bread symbolises Christ’s body, broken for us. Christ was without blemish, without ‘leaven’ or ‘yeast’. There was no ‘sourness’ within Him. It is fair to say that yeast, or leaven, corrupts. Christ’s body never knew any form of decay.
1 Cor 15 vs 20-24
– Passover pictured by the death of Christ.
– The feast of unleavened bread pictured in the burial of the Messiah. Totally uncorrupted.
– First Fruits – Jesus rose from the dead.
God kept the feasts !!
Whether I can articulate this accurately, I have no idea, but I tend to hang undecided between whether we should adhere to the feasts… as stated several times in scripture.. using the term ‘throughout your generations’. That certainly makes me think.. ‘well, that includes us’.. but then you can look at the feasts as now being symbolic.
I found the following very interesting –
Whenever leaven is mentioned in the Bible (22 times in the Old Testament and 17 times in the New Testament), it always (or almost always) represents sin or evil. The first instance in which this word is used is found in (Ex 12:15). This was just before the Passover, in which God destroyed all of the firstborn of Egypt, but spared the firstborn of Israel in the last of the 10 plagues that He visited upon Egypt.
God gave instructions to Moses and Aaron that they were command Israel to celebrate this Passover each year “throughout your generations” with a feast. This feast, called the “Feast of Unleavened Bread” followed the Passover day (the 14th day of the 1st month on the Jewish calendar). It lasted 7 days. During the first day of this week, they were commanded to remove all leaven from their houses. In addition, they were not to eat any bread which contained leaven for the whole week.
Just as most things in the Old Testament point to Jesus, the “unleavened bread” does as well. In the New Testament, Jesus referred to Himself as the “Bread of Life” (Jn 6:22-59). He was, of course, also without sin (1 Jn 3:5)(2 Cor 5:21)(Heb 4:15) (1 Pet 2:22). Because leaven is equated with sin throughout the Bible, the “unleavened bread” pictured bread (Jesus) without sin in it. In addition, a “blood sacrifice” (the blood also represented Jesus in the Old Testament: Heb 9:11-28, Heb 10:11-25) was not to be offered with leavened bread (Ex 23:18)(Ex 34:25).
It is interesting to note, however, that for a peace offering (Lev 7:13) and wave offering (Lev 23:17) God commanded that leaven be used.
In the New Testament, we have 5 more examples of the symbolism of leaven. Before sharing these examples, I should first explain why the use of leaven in these examples gives us a good picture of sin. Leaven/yeast is basically old, fermented dough that is placed in new dough to make it rise. The key is that you only need to add a very small amount of fermented dough to make new dough rise. (Gal 5:9) describes this saying, “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.”
Carrying this out to sin, it can be said that “a little sin can wind up destroying the whole body.” This body can be symbolic of our individual body or the larger body of Christ (i.e. the Church). I believe a good parallel to this can be seen above, where on the 1st day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, God commanded that all leaven (sin) should be cleaned out of the house. As Christians, our bodies are the “house” or Temple of God, and we are told not to “defile” God’s Temple with sin (1 Cor 3:16-17), but rather, we are to “glorify God in our body” (1 Cor 6:19-20).
Jesus gave us the first 4 symbolic examples of leaven in the New Testament. In the first, Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven/God to leaven (Mt 13:33) (Lk 13:20-21). There is great debate amongst scholars as to whether the use of leaven in this example is positive or negative. Some believe that it is positively speaking of the “rise” or growth of the gospel in the world or a person’s life. Others believe that it is negatively speaking of evil doctrine working its way into the kingdom.
In the second instance, Jesus compared the false teaching (sin) of the Pharisees and Sadducees with leaven (Mt 16:6-12).
In the third, Jesus warned of the leaven of Herod (he was evil and immoral: Mt 4:1-12, Mk 6:14-29, Lk 3:18-21, Lk 23:7-12) and again the Pharisees (Mk 8:15).
In the fourth, Jesus said, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy” (sin) (Lk 12:1).
Finally, Paul gives us a very clear final example in (1 Cor 5). In this case, a man is living in incest with his father’s wife, and those in the church are proud of this! Paul uses the same words that he previously used in (Gal 5:9) saying, “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” He warned the church to “remove this man from your midst” (1 Cor 5:2) and “remove this wicked man from amongst yourselves” (1 Cor 5:13). He also said such a person should be “judged” (1 Cor 5:12).
The reason for this is because if one person is allowed to continue in unrepentant sin (we all sin, but as Christians we are sorry for it), it will soon affect the rest of the body (the whole lump). In (1 Cor 5:8), Paul also gives us a great contrast between leavened (sin) and unleavened (sin free) bread, comparing leaven with “malice and wickedness” and unleavened bread with “sincerity and truth.”
In (1 Cor 5:9-13), Paul closes the chapter with one of the most sober (and difficult) warnings in the Bible for Christians. He warns Christians to not even “associate” with a “brother” who is practicing unrepentant sin. (Paul makes a distinction between a Christian “brother” and a person who is not a Christian.) Why does Paul issue this warning? It seems clear from the numerous previous warnings that it is because his sin can have a negative impact on either our personal walk with the Lord, or on the church as a whole. Are we heeding this warning as Christians?
So much more to study on this topic… really looking forward to it .
Blessing Peeps !!!!