Today is the first day of the Biblical festival, Unleavened Bread, or Chag HaMatzot in Hebrew (Exodus 12). This is one of my favorite times of the year because of the meaningful symbolism that comes with this holiday. Passover, which happens right before Unleavened Bread, is of course what Yeshua (Jesus) celebrated the night before He was crucified. “And as they were eating, Yeshua took bread, and having blessed, broke and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat, this is My body.’ And taking the cup, and giving thanks, He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood, that of the covenant, which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins’” (Mat. 26:26-28). The last few chapters from the Gospel narratives – from the Last Supper to the Resurrection – are perhaps my favorite part of the Bible. This is what our faith is founded on; it is why we can have hope; it is why we live. How blessed, then, is this time of year that we as believers can practically relive that awesome story in our celebrations!
While the Passover is the most directly meaningful to Yeshua’s story, one-week-long Unleavened Bread has profound symbolism, too. It is a leaven-free week – foods like sandwich bread and Ritz crackers are banished from the house just as they are banished from our mouths. During this week, leaven symbolizes sin and corruption (“Therefore cleanse out the old leaven, so that you are a new lump, as you are unleavened. For also Messiah our Passover was offered for us. So then let us observe the festival, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of evil and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” 1 Cor. 5:7-8.) and so we focus on how the death of Yeshua (Jesus) freed us from sin so that we are no longer enslaved to it. We are free to have a sin-free existence! Leaven and the lack of it can have many other meanings, too (such as pride vs. humility), but this is the most powerful.
Passover and Unleavened Bread make up some of the first chapters in the story of Redemption – the greatest story ever told! Centuries before Yeshua, God rescued His people from the physical slavery of Egypt, just as He would rescue us from spiritual slavery. The specific events happened at the exact same time of year. If you’ve never studied how the Exodus prefigures our redemption, I highly recommend the study! It is such a strong way to feel, all over again, the power of salvation.
Are you getting excited about celebrating the Resurrection?