Throughout the Bible, “leaven” is s symbol for sin.
Exodus 12:14-20 Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. On the first day you shall have a holy assembly, and another holy assembly on the seventh day; no work at all shall be done on them, except what must be eaten by every person, that alone may be prepared by you. You shall also observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt; therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as a permanent ordinance. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. Seven days there shall be no leaven found in your houses; for whoever eats what is leavened, that person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is an alien or a native of the land. You shall not eat anything leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread.
From the 14th to the 21st of Nissan, Israel was commanded by God not to eat any leavened bread. The rabbis taught that the Jews should not have leaven of any kind in their homes when Passover began. An interesting practice developed around the purging of the house from the presence of anything containing leaven on the day before Passover. Chametz means “with leaven.”
Passover is a spring festival, so this is a good time to give the house a thorough cleaning. On the day before Passover, the Mama of a Jewish home will give her home a really good cleaning, making sure there is no leaven left anywhere. Well, that is almost? Because Passover is a family event, when the Papa of the house comes home in the evening of that day, it is his responsibility to insure that the house is ready and that the Mama has done her job. The Papa will take a wooden spoon, a feather, and napkin and go from room to room looking in all of the nooks and crannies searching for anything that contains leaven. No Twinkies can be left behind! To help make the Papa feel as though he has done his job well, guess what the Mama leaves behind somewhere in the house where it is easy to see? You guessed it!
When the Papa finds the piece of leavened bread where the Mama left it for him, he will take the feather and brush the leaven into the napkin and wrap it up. The napkin with the leaven is ceremonially removed from the house and it is proclaimed to be completely clean from the offending element. In years gone by, the family would take the napkin to the synagogue where there would be a fire kindled. All the members of that synagogue would watch as the Papas would throw the napkin with its leaven into the fire where it would be burned up.
True followers of God cannot allow sin to remain in their lives without eventually falling prey to its corrupting influence. Believers who allow it to remain, even if we keep it well hidden from the eyes of others, will one day face God and have to give an accounting for why they continued to cling to it.
1 Corinthians 3:10-15 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
I love the fact that the traditions of Passover are so rich with meaning for those who are intent on thinking about them. The Passover symbols are so clear in their representation of biblical truth, that my heart breaks for Jewish people who each year remember the traditions and yet miss their greater meaning. They cannot seem to see the forest for the trees, and it is so sad. My heart breaks for them, and I pray that yours does, too, if you are a believer in Yeshua Hamaschiach (Jesus, the Messiah).
I would like to ask you to do something with today’s devotional blog. There are a number of Jewish people who visit this website. Most are believers, some are not. Those who are not believers are either curious or angry. In response to this blog today, I would like to ask you to reflect on the various symbols of the Passover Seder and share a brief word of your own about what they represent and how they point the true an honest Jewish seeker towards their Messiah who has already come.
This is your opportunity to share with someone why you have recognized Yeshua as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.