“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 Corinthians 5:8/NUV).
Here Paul is referring to the Passover meal. In the night before the Israelites were to escape from slavery in Egypt, they had to eat but unleavened bread. They did not have time to wait till their dough would be fermented by a remainder of old dough.
Jews were to annually celebrate the meal they had been instructed to take just before fleeing from Egypt. From these festivals they were used to the idea of eating bread without yeast.
Paul here takes unleavened bread as to symbolise a life without malice and wickedness, namely a life of sincerity and truth. Some evil thoughts can easily creep into our lives. There is a human tendency towards ill-will. Yet in order to approach God we are to keep ourselves free from this negative pull. God wants sincerity and truth to be the leading principles in our hearts and minds.
On Passover the Jews were commemorating how God had helped their forefathers. They were to remember how God had changed the course of history on their behalf. This was meant to help them to also trust God in any adversities they were currently facing.
As we are going through unpleasant experiences we may tend to long for some kind of revenge against those who are making things so bitter for us. We may tend to give way to negative emotions and even to hateful thoughts.
Paul here tells us we ought to lay aside all these sentiments and desires. We are to bring our sorrows and needs to God.
God wants us to come to him with sincerity, i.e. with an upright heart. We are to be truthful about any sinful attitudes, thoughts, words and deeds that have occurred in our lives.
That is the way to celebrate how God has helped others who have gone before us. That is the path for us to come to see how God would meet us in our own present needs. That is the way for us to become aware of the heavenly Father’s love towards us.
Jesus Christ has laid down his own life for us in order to raise us. Just in the verse before that which I am dealing with today, Paul refers to Christ as to our Passover lamb.
“Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast – as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” (Verse 7/NIV).
Whoever has given his life to Jesus already has been made a new creature. Paul asks the Corinthian believers to cling to the new life they have received in Christ.
Through Jesus Christ, we can come to God with the kind of sincerity and truthfulness that God is looking for in our hearts. Jesus wants to help us
- leave behind our present grieves and
- celebrate the great wonders God has done in the past on behalf of other believing men and women who have gone before us.
This post is also intended to illustrate 1 Corinthians 13:6. For more on this verse please check my category ‘1 Corinthians 13:6’ or follow my blog for upcoming new Posts on verse 6.