Anglican Morning Devotion for 28 September 2021 Anno Domini
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Then Jesus said unto them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.”… “How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? 12Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.”
(Matthew 16:6, 11-12; all scripture quoted is frm the king James Version)
With few exceptions, Leaven in the Bible refers to sin or false doctrine. It is for this reason that unleavened bread is served at Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Hebrew mother would sweep and garnish her home to eradicate the smallest speck of leaven before Passover. There were times that leaven would be used in sacrifice, but NEVER during the Passover or Feast. Leavened bread was only used sparingly for such feasts as the peace offering, but never with the more solemn meat offerings to include Passover. This is the case because the lighter feasts were intended for man’s enjoyment. The meat offerings or sin and for the propitiation thereof must NEVER contain Leaven.
When Jesus satisfied all the claims of the Law, it certainly obeyed that command of God in the Last Supper by eating unleavened bread at the table. It is for this reason that we use unleavened bread – usually a small wafer – for the Bread of the Communion which is literally the Passover. The Passover is directly related to Easter Sunday in the Church calendar. In fact, Passover is a more accurate term than Easter since we celebrate the Passion of the Lamb of God in covering our sins so that the Angel of Death will Passover us as well as the Children that grave night in Goshen of Egypt.
Jesus uses the term in a related manner to indicate the wickedness of the great preachers of His day – the Pharisees and other Jewish rulers. “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” When the disciples misinterpreted this remark, our Lord went on to explain His meaning: “How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?” Leaven causes the bread to be puffed up larger than its natural size – very much like false pride! “Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.”
There are, I believe, a greater number of preachers of false doctrine abroad in the Church today than bona fide preachers of the Gospel. Quite often (perhaps not always) the larger the church, the greater the error and false doctrine being preached. I believe this is due to the fact that the common society today characteristically seek, with itching ears, those words that make them feel good instead of those which condemn of sin. Easy-believism has proliferated in formerly doctrinally sound churches. Those that have gone off the deep end of doctrine preach that the sinner can come as he is, and REMAIN as he is. No change expected nor required. If faith in God and a reliance on His sovereign commands do not change the sinner from sinner to righteousness, then God’s Word would be rendered sterile (which it is not). Substituting false doctrine in lieu of true doctrine is symbolically likened to using leavened bread instead of unleavened bread in the Holy Communion Service. Unleavened bread is simple and easy to prepare. If we consider it too great an inconvenience to use the same unleavened bread as our Lord at the Communion, we indeed lake the fervency that should typify a Christian believer.
You may not regard the symbols of the Communion to be important, but our Lord placed great importance on the symbol which represented the real and actual. He is the Good Shepherd – a symbol of His love and care of His people. He is the Bright and Morning Star – a symbol of His watching over us through our dark night’s pilgrimage upon earth. He is the Lamb of God sacrificed before the foundation of the world. And He is the Door by which we enter into the favor and grace of God. If such symbolism is regarded in such esteem by our Lord, why would we use lesser signs and symbols in our worship of Him. Since the Bread represents His Body, don’t you believe that it should not contain leaven that represents sin?