“On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses.” (Ex. 12:15a)
As we saw yesterday in Exodus 12, and again today in Deuteronomy 16, it was declared by God that each household in Israel was to rid itself of any leaven within the house. This was ceremonially completed on Nisan 15, or the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. So you might be asking, how does this relate to the passage of Christ entering the temple in Mark 11? Well, most of the time when leaven, or yeast depending on your translation, is referenced in the Bible it is a symbol of sin. So let’s take a closer look.
What are some of the properties of leaven? First, leaven grows or multiplies. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to make bread from scratch, you know that you can keep a batch of yeast around almost indefinitely. As long as you don’t use up the entire batch it will continue to multiply so that you never run out. This can also be observed with sin. Sin has a way of multiplying. Tell a lie and it will inevitably lead to another, and another, and another. You get the picture. Second, leaven permeates an entire batch of dough with great ease and speeds up the rate at which it will spoil. Likewise, sin in one area of your life will eventually, and usually quite quickly, find it’s way into other areas of your life. A little sin will spoil an otherwise spotless life. God doesn’t set a limit on the amount of sin allowed because He knows that any sin affects the entire person. Finally, leaven puffs up. The whole point of using leaven when cooking is to cause the dough to rise, or become puffed up. This is symbolic of the original sin of pride. Isaiah 14:12-15 describes how Satan was cast out of Heaven for his pride.
At Passover, God required that each house be cleansed of any leaven, which represented sin. The money changers in the temple were cheating people who came with a sincere desire to worship God. This practice was despised by God, and even predicted and condemned in Jeremiah 7:11. Thus in Mark 11 we have Jesus entering the temple, His Father’s house, and removing the sin.
Questions for Reflection
- Do you have any sin that will permeate your life?
- Ask God to reveal to you the sin that He sees in your life.
- Remember, you are the Lord’s temple, if you ask Him to He will help you cleanse your life just like He cleansed His temple in Jerusalem!