Summary: This sermon highlights the feast of unleavened bread showing how it relates to the burial of Christ, and how believers should seek to remove the leaven of sin from our lives.
Aim: To expound on the Passover and show how Christ is our Passover
Introduction: We come now to the second of Israel’s seven feasts. You will recall that the first four, Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits and Pentecost are Springtime feasts, and these relate to Christ’s first coming, to His death, burial, resurrection and Pentecost, the sending of the Holy Ghost. The last three are autumn feasts, Trumpets, Atonement, and tabernacles and they relate to the regathering, and restoration of Israel followed by the Millennial Reign of Christ. These are all tied in to Christ’s second coming.
Now the feast of Unleavened Bread began on the 15th day of Nisan, that is the day after Passover, it is so intrinsically linked with Passover that it is now seen as part and parcel of the same festival. Now the last time we discussed these matters we saw that Passover pictures the death of Christ, and therein lies our salvation, but Unleavened Bread relates to our sanctification. It pictures Christ’s burial, and shows us the consequences to our lives when we believe upon Jesus as our Saviour.
After the Passover night, the Egyptians pressed upon the Jewish people to get out of their land, and the only provision the Hebrews were able to take was dough which had no time to rise, it was without leaven, so that when they baked it the next day it was unleavened bread.
This bread is call matzah in the Hebrew, and it is a wonderful symbol of the Lord Jesus Christ, as we shall see.
But before we do anything else there are two vitally important truths we must get a hold of as we consider this feast:
1. First of all, Egypt in Scripture is always regarded as a type of the world. It is associated with faithlessness and a dependence upon human resource instead of God. See Isaiah 31:1; Heb 11:26-27; Jude 1:5; Revelation 11:8.
So Passover, or salvation in Christ, brings us out of Egypt, it separates us from the world.
2. Secondly, Leaven is a type of sin. It always speaks to us of corruption, it is a symbol of all that is unclean and evil – See 1 Corinthians 5:7-8
This shows us that when Christ enters our lives there is a cleansing that takes place, that everything unholy and unclean must go, sanctification takes place and we now live lives that are pleasing to God.
Now I want to begin our study by considering
I. The Requirement of the Feast of Unleavened Bread
A. First of all, according to Exodus 12:15 all leaven was to be removed from the home.
1. Did you ever wonder why it is people clean their houses in spring?
2. Well, here it is – Spring-cleaning is rooted in the Feast of Unleavened Bread
3. The Jewish people go through their homes with a fine tooth come and ensure that not one drop of leaven remains.
B. Secondly, for seven days they are to eat unleavened bread.
1. This is a vital truth – you see Passover was one day – one day and it is done, it is a type of Christ’s death – at Calvary the work of redemption was complete.
2. But these feasts of longer duration, and there are two of them, point to the outcome of what Christ has done.
3. Unleavened Bread presents us with a picture of the character of the Believer’s life after he has received Christ.
C. Thirdly this feast was defined as a “High Sabbath”, (verse 16) that is a Sabbath extra to the weekly seventh day Sabbath.
1. No work (except for food preparation) was to be done on the first or seventh day.
D. This feast was declared a perpetual memorial to be kept by the Jewish people forever – verse 17.
II. The Ritual of the Feast of Unleavened Bread
A. Now what do the Jewish people do to celebrate this feast?
1. In the first place the women start thirty days ahead of time removing all leavens from their homes.
2. Then as night falls on the 14th Nisan, that is the Passover, a symbolic ritual cleansing of the house begins.
3. All the leaven has been removed, except for ten small pieces, which the mother and children hide around the home.
4. Then the father of the household begins a search.
5. He takes with him a candle, a feather, a wooden spoon and a paper bag.
a. In the modern Jewish homes all electric lighting is switched off and the candle used so as to concentrate the mind.
6. When the father finds a piece of leaven, he uses the feather to sweep it onto the wooden spoon and then places it in the bag.