Church is usually a sinful place. People get caught up in an addiction, a wrong attitude or an unhealthy relationship. But then there are times when something ‘over the top’ happens.
Such was the case in Corinth when Paul wrote about a man having an affair with his mother. It was so disturbing and uncommon that Paul said the pagans would be shocked by it.
The ancient Roman writer and statesman Cicero said this type of incest was an incredible crime and practically unheard of. Truly, it was not even named among the Gentiles![i]
Though it was going on and everyone was aware of it, nothing significant was being done to address it. Paul wrote and told them how to deal with the issue. Part of his explanation involved these words:
1 Corinthians 5:
6Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? 7Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.
What were people boasting about? The idea expressed is that it was more of a joke than a serious problem to address. It was exciting gossip instead of a cause for intervention.
When we overlook serious problems it is similar to the effects of yeast. Just as a little yeast causes the whole loaf of bread to puff up, a little indifference to serious problems ends up affecting everyone.
We need to get rid of an attitude that laughs off the serious bondage issues of others.
Then Paul talked about the Passover lamb-- Jesus who had been sacrificed. The Passover is not just a festival—it is a picture of Christian life. We eat the lamb (Jesus) and we also eat the bread.
The ‘old bread’ that we need to replace is the attitude of malice and wickedness. To eat the Passover correctly, the lamb was provided and consumed. The bread we bring needs to be unleavened—not puffed up.
Sin puffs us up with bad attitudes and resentments. We are asked to eat the Passover with unleavened bread. Jesus is the unleavened bread uninfected by sin. His bread is sincerity and truth instead of the common sinful attitudes.
When we partake in the Lord’s Supper, we may partake of his good nature. Let’s rid ourselves of gossip, indifference, malice and wickedness.