The recent “Holy Week” has roots in the Old Testament Passover. In their rush to leave Egypt, the Israelites didn’t have time to leaven the bread that they ate with their Passover meal. As a reminder of their exodus from Egypt, God commanded; “You must eat unleavened bread for seven days” (Exodus 12:15). God further instructed; “You are to observe the Festival of Unleavened Bread . . . throughout your generations as a permanent statute” (v. 17).
The Jews came to refer to these annual Sabbaths as “High Days” (John 19:31, KJV). But they didn’t understand that their unleavened bread represented the promised Savior—the “bread from heaven.” Since the Bible sometimes uses leaven as a symbol of sin, the unleavened bread was a symbol of the sinless Messiah.
When Paul wrote to the Corinthians he admonished – “Don’t you know that a little yeast permeates the whole batch of dough” (1 Corinthians 5:6-8)? He used fermenting yeast to illustrate how one sin leads to another in a snowballing effect.
Unfortunately, many people seem to be unaware of the compounding effects of sin. For instance, few users of illegal drugs seem to understand that their behavior helps support the evil practices of large international drug cartels.
Similarly, “The Huffington Post” recently reported that there are an estimated 21 million people currently trafficked around the world—many of them children from Eastern Europe and Asia. It is a 32 billion dollar industry whose major sources of revenue are prostitution and pornography. I wonder how many users of pornography recognize how their behavior contributes to international human trafficking and related child abuse.
The examples I’ve mentioned illustrate Romans Principle 3, Sin’s Devastating Results, in my Life Essentials Study Bible (p. 1535). I explain how sin, like leaven in a batch of dough, becomes “pervasive throughout the entire culture as each generation declines even more.”
In the New Testament we learn that Jesus introduced new symbols to commemorate the meaning of the Passover—broken bread and wine. The church quickly came to associate the bread and cup with a time of self examination (1 Corinthians 11:26-28). In the same way, I encourage you to consider the damaging effects of sin in your life as you look to God for the help you need.