Pesach Reflections

Torah Portion: Pesach (Exodus 12:21-51)
Gospel Portion: 1 Cor. 2:1-5; 5:6-8
Commentary By: Matthew Day

Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. -- 1 Cor. 5:6-8 (ESV)

No man is allowed to partake of the Passover lamb unless he is first circumcised. That's the law of the Torah portion for this holiday, as it is written, "No uncircumcised person shall eat of it" (Exo. 12:48). If such be the case with the physical Passover lamb, how much more necessary it must be to circumcise our hearts before partaking of Messiah, our spiritual Passover lamb! But, what does this mean?

Moses commands us in Deuteronomy 10:16, "Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn." Here, circumcision is contrasted with stubbornness, a symptom of pride and an unwillingness to let God mold you. An insistence on going one's own way instead of humbly admitting that you might be wrong.

This is faith, the faith of Abraham, when he circumcised His household believing in God's promise even after he failed to bring it about himself. Even after there was no possible way for him to have children anymore. This was his sign that he trusted not in his own strength but in God's unfailing word.

Leaven, too, is a symbol of doctrine, teaching, and pride. In some cases it is used in a good sense, such as when the teaching of the Kingdom of heaven is compared to leaven (Matt. 13:33) or when we boast in the Lord through thanksgiving (Lev. 7:13), or on the anniversary of receiving the Torah, the teaching of God (Lev. 23:17). But, to everything there is a time and place. Passover is a time for the unleavened bread of humility. It is a time when we bow our heads in worship, sincerely acknowledging our brokenness, believing in the truth of God's saving mercy.

We debate calendars and eschatology. We disagree about the details of commandments or the nature of God and Messiah and the Bible. We boast as we uncover the secrets of the Scriptures and the Hebrew language they were written in. We argue, we divide, we boast, we condemn, we mock, we scoff. We think we have been given wisdom when in reality we are nothing but foolish sinners, dust before the breath of God. Therefore, let us walk after the example of Paul when he writes,

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. - 1 Cor. 2:1-2 (ESV)

Because on this night of watching only one thing matters:

The blood is on the doorpost
The family is in the house
Redemption is at our doorstep
Tonight we shall become free