Paul & Passover

Paul makes strong allusions to Passover in 1 Corinthians 5:6-8. The Hebrews were commanded in Exodus 12:15 not to make bread with yeast during the Passover Festival and to go a step further and remove “every trace of yeast” from their homes. This is observed by Jews today as more than a reenactment of the Exodus. Yeast and leavening represent sin as it is a sin (disobedience to the command) to have yeast during Passover. Commonly each Jewish household will thoroughly clean the home, sweeping away any trace of yeast prior to the first sunset of Passover. During the 8 days/nights of Passover, many theological points are considered including sins that need to be removed and swept out of the interior home- the heart.

 

When Paul compares sexual sin to yeast, he takes on the physical properties of yeast- a little goes a long way. A ‘small’ sexual sin is all it takes to continue on a path of continual, habitual, and growing sexual sin. Paul instructs the Corinthians to remove the man who has sinned sexually from the congregation (employing the ever-popular church discipline). He is one person, but not responding to a public and flagrant sin amongst the church could, and probably would, lead to a lax attitude toward sin. Paul continues the Passover allusions in verse 7b by referring to Jesus Christ as “our Passover Lamb” who has been sacrificed so that the wrath of God may Pass-Over those who believe. Faith in Jesus is the beginning, continuation, and ultimate renewal. “So let us celebrate the festival, not with the old bread of wickedness and evil, but with the new bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Corinthians 5:8)

 

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