By Tom Robinson
God has given us two connected annual festivals in early spring (in the northern hemisphere) that we definitely are to observe as Christians, even as Jesus and the apostles did—Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread.
Jesus died on the Passover day. For centuries this day had foreshadowed His dying for our sins as the sacrificed Lamb of God, and He commands His followers to keep the Passover as a remembrance or memorial of His sacrifice for us (Matthew:26:26-28; Luke:22:19-20; 1 Corinthians:11:23-26).
Three days later Jesus was resurrected during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. His resurrection is indeed a vital theme in the meaning of the festival—yet as part of a bigger picture. Consider what literally happened. Jesus was dead and buried in the ground for the first three days of this festival, was raised to life right in the midst of it and was then accepted as the firstfruits of God’s spiritual harvest, remaining alive to teach and direct His disciples thereafter. All of this is part of the meaning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread, like the Passover, was revealed to the Israelites at the time of the Exodus (Exodus 12-13). Over the course of these days, the Israelites left the slavery of Egypt. And the removal and avoidance of leavening (an agent such as yeast that causes bread dough to rise in baking) was to symbolize our coming out of sin (see 1 Corinthians 5:6-8).
Eating unleavened bread instead symbolized taking in God’s righteousness—ultimately revealed to come in a lasting way only through Christ living in us to help us develop godly character.
We are to figuratively be crucified and die with Christ—our old, sinful self being put to death and buried with Him so that we can be figuratively raised with Him to walk in newness of life, as pictured in baptism (read Galatians:2:20, Romans 6, Colossians:3:1-10 and Philippians 3:10-11).
We may understand that the Days of Unleavened Bread represent our coming out of sin. But we must realize that our coming out of sin relies on the person we formerly were being figuratively put to death and buried with Christ and then, in effect, rising with Christ into a new way of living— His way.
As the true Bread of life (John:6:35, John:6:48-51), He lives His resurrected life in us through the Holy Spirit. This enables us to live a lifetime of sanctification and transformation until the culmination in our literal resurrection at Christ’s return. Thus what these days symbolize, our coming out of sin to ultimately find new life and acceptance with God, was enabled by Jesus being literally buried, raised and accepted by God during these very days. This was clearly no coincidence!
We need to grasp that Jesus’ resurrection is vital to the process of coming out of sins. As Paul wrote: “If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” (1 Corinthians 15:17).
And this is where the resurrection focus of Easter fails. It merely gazes at a hero who has conquered death. In the case of Jesus Christ, that is awesome and wonderful, to be sure. But by itself it lacks the context of His death and resurrection as the basis for our own renewed lives and ultimate future resurrection.
In keeping the biblical Feast of Unleavened Bread, we do commemorate the fact that Jesus-Yeshua was resurrected to live in us to enable us to overcome—yet not as a celebration specifically of the resurrection in the way that Easter is for many, which misses the big picture of God’s great plan of salvation. It leaves out a proper balanced focus on the need for our old selves to remain buried and on now living new life through Christ, looking forward to ultimate transformation in the future.
For those who recognize the problems with Easter, we should not let pagan corruption take away from having a right focus on Jesus’ resurrection—and a recognition of His role in the meaning of the biblical Feast of Unleavened Bread as the Bread of life through whom we also may receive eternal life by our own resurrection from the dead (John 6:50-58).
Some might wonder how a person could be a Christian and not celebrate Easter. Some might wonder how a Jew could celebrate Passover without recognizing the Messiah. But a more important question is this: How can anyone be a believer and not observe the days God commanded us to—the days that picture His great plan of saving mankind through Jesus Christ – Yeshua Messiah?
The question then remains: What will it take to convince you? Do you know about the Passover Lamb who took away the sins of the world? Are you like a slave in bondage or have you been set free from sin? Yeshua said in “Mat 11:28, Come unto me, all [ye] that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. He also said in John 14:6, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me. The Bible says, “confess with your mouth, that Yeshua is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, and you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) If you’ve never done that or maybe you need to recommit your life to Him and make Him Lord of your life, then please don’t wait any longer. Ask Him now in a prayer like this:
Father, please forgive me for my many mistakes. I know that I haven’t always been the person that I should be. I except the sacrifice of your Son, Yeshua, the unblemished Lamb, for my sin and I ask you to forgive me and help me to live the rest of my life for you. You alone have the answers and can teach me of your perfect plan for my life.
In His name I pray,
Congratulations, if you have prayed this prayer the Bible says, “ Therefore, if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2Cr 5:17)