by the Rev. Melanie Dees Campbell
Celebrating Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread; keeps me in awe of the Lord, meditating on his feast days, the fullness in Messiah Yeshua, Jesus the Christ and the Ruach HaKodesh, Holy Spirit. Rejoicing in deliverance, from eternal death, walking in the joy of an attitude of gratitude, knowing there is no graduation point, we can keep growing spiritually.
Baking my own matzah, unleavened bread, for the first time, I pierced the flat bread multiple times, knowing that Yeshua/Jesus, the bread of life, was pierced for my transgressions. Removing it from my oven rack, I gazed upon the scorch marks knowing they represent the bruising and stripes of our Savior, the bread from heaven, who died for the sins of all mankind (1John2:2), obediently sacrificing himself. Commercial matzah has pierced holes and scorch marks, but baking it resounded in a deeper illustrative conviction of my sins, my shortcomings that he took upon himself.
God rained down the "bread from heaven" sustaining his nation (Exodus 16:4) and Yeshua/Jesus, our living bread from heaven (John 6:51) rains upon us as we open heart and soul to him in repentance and acceptance. His righteousness made us righteous; Isaiah wrote (Is.64:6) that "...our righteous deeds are like filthy rags." Without a right relationship with the Lord we cannot be righteous. It is not on our merits, but rather our union with him that enables us to go to the Father. Having Yeshua/Jesus in our hearts and being lead by Ruach HaKodesh, Holy Spirit, convicts of sin and the humbling maturing process of self-examination.
Yeshua/Jesus said to be aware of the leaven of the Pharisees (Matthew 16:6) calling it hypocrisy. Never should we desire a false religiosity of double-mindedness but rather true religion, James 1:27, "Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted (unspotted) by the world."
I do not walk guilt ridden and defeated for Yeshua/Jesus took all guilt and condemnation, but in the desire to be more pleasing to the Lord I ask him to reveal to me my character defects and personality flaws that inhibit a mature faith walk. It is in keeping unspotted from the world that is an ongoing growth process.
Meditating upon my yeast free unleavened bread and my yeast free home, I examine my real home, myself, where he abides. Seeking the Lord, asking him to reveal my errors, sins, rebelliousness and hypocrisy, knowing that he is just and faithful, willing to draw me closer to Him and direct me, I humble myself for his correction. It can only succeed if I am willing to mature, so I can be a better faithful servant. The goal being that there be more of Him and less of me.
Keeping oneself unspotted from the world is a daily commitment to live and honor him; be it putting down a novel that takes the Lord's name in vain or turning off a program that humorously extols sin rather than holiness.
That is where leaven factors in; we know a little leaven is impossible to remove from a batch of dough. It is our choice; loving the Lord deeply and not rationalizing "a little sin/hypocrisy" in our lives, acquiescing to worldly cultural mores, or choosing Godly virtues. What type of leaven do we desire after this Feast?
The Apostle Paul clearly referenced the Feast of Unleavened Bread when in 1 Corinthians 5:8 he encouraged the predominantly gentile church to "keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness (harboring sinful attitudes), but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." Paul recognized the unleavened bread of this feast as two fold and lead new believers to the leaven symbolic of sincerity and truth.
Are we willing to examine ourselves, eradicating the old leaven of sin and hypocrisy (self-deception being the worst hypocrisy), and mature spiritually? Eat unleavened bread of humility? The Lord will not put new wine in old wineskins but only new wine in new wineskins (Mk.2:22). Let us continue life's journey, as new creatures in Messiah, loving him enough to keep ourselves from worldly pollutants, as we choose the good leaven of sincerity and truth.
Blessings and Shalom