“This day is to be a memorial for you. You are to keep it as a feast to Adonai. Throughout your generations you are to keep it as an eternal ordinance. For seven days you are to eat unleavened bread (matzot), but on the first day you must remove leavened bread (hametz) from your houses, for whoever eats leavened bread (hametz) from the first day until the seventh day, that soul will be cut off from Israel.” -Ex. 12:14-15
According to chabad.org, Passover is “an eight-day festival celebrated in the early spring, from the 15th through the 22nd of the Hebrew month of Nissan, April 8 – April 16, 2020. Passover (Pesach) commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. Pesach is observed by avoiding leaven and highlighted by the Seder meals that include four cups of wine, eating matzah and bitter herbs, and retelling the story of the Exodus. In Hebrew, it is known as Pesach (which means “to pass over”), because G‑d passed over the Jewish homes when killing the Egyptian firstborn on the very first Passover eve.”
The reason we are to avoid leaven is that the Israelites didn’t have enough time to allow their bread to rise. During this plague, they were hastened by God to leave Egypt quickly, with their loins girded, their shoes on their feet, and staff in their hands. This led to the Exodus out of slavery into the land God promised, flowing with milk and honey.
There are certain games you can do to teach your children this story. Last night, my wife took out all the leavened grains from our pantry and put them out of the house. Then, we put four pieces of bread into separate Ziploc bags. We hid these pieces all around the house for the kids to search for. Every time they found a piece of bread, they threw it in the trash and then received a quarter from us.
We then asked them spiritual questions. What does the leavened bread symbolize? Sin, they said. Good, and then we quoted 1 Corinthians 5:7: “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.”
Next, we asked: Who does the Lamb represent and why did the Israelites place blood on their doorposts? Our kids said because God loves us. Yes, this is true. Also, when God brought a plague or judgment upon Egypt, he passed over and spared anyone who would “mark” themselves as the people of God. Similarly, when we put our trust and faith in Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, God’s wrath will not be unleashed upon us. We are protected by Jesus, the propitiator for our sins.
During this week of unleavened bread, we do our best to get rid of all the lumps of leaven (sin) in our house. We refrain from eating any bread that has yeast in it because yeast represents sin. Ultimately, it’s impossible to get rid of all our sin by strict obedience to the Lord. For all of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. This is why the week of unleavened bread ultimately points us to the sinless Lamb of God, who takes away all our sin. It reminds us of the grace and mercy bestowed upon humanity when Jesus died at Calvary.
This is why the story from Exodus is absolutely relevant to believers in Christ today. It points us to resurrection Sunday. It prepares our hearts and minds for the day when Jesus told his disciples during the Last Supper meal that He is the ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy. The spotless Lamb points to Him. The unleavened bread is the bread that comes down from heaven. All of the Jewish feasts point to Jesus. That’s why it’s still important to celebrate the week of unleavened bread. Will you join us? Blessings!