Anglican Morning Devotion for 12 April 2022 Anno Domini
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Corinthians 5:7-8; all scripture quoted is from the King James version)
Have you wondered why we use unleavened bread in our Holy Communion Service? It is true that some churches use any bread they please in disregarding the symbolic nature of the Bread and Body of Christ; but the spiritual import of the nature of the bread we use is important otherwise our Lord Himself would not have used unleavened bread consistent with the nature and meaning of the Passover. Symbolism is important in Scripture. Our Lord compares Himself to a great Rock that is the foundation of the Church. He compares His people to sheep of the fold. He is the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valleys. The nature of the symbol must match that with which it is being compared. Most importantly, Christ is pictured as the Lamb of God sacrificed Before the foundation of the world. So, we should not carelessly, for the sake of convenience, disregard the significance of symbology in worship.
The Holy Communion is symbolic of our Passover in the Lord. The Bread of Communion represents His Body, and the wine, His Blood of the Cross. As He taught us: “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 27And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28)
The Bread was symbolic of His Body – He did not take His own body in His hands and hand to the disciples. It represents His Body of the new covenant. It stands as spiritual promise of His Presence with us whenever we partake of the Communion. His Presence is more spiritually with us than in any physical sense while the very physical Body of Christ is with the Father in Heaven. “…That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
The nature of unleavened bread is elementary to the Bible scholar – it represents sinlessness and truth undiluted with error. Before the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Hebrew mother cleaned and garnished her home meticulously to ensure that no leavened could be found. The profound principles of the unleavened bread are represented in our leading text: “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: 8Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
Leaven is symbolic of false doctrine, so why use a corrupted symbol for a Holy purpose such as leavened bread in Communion? The Passover is more legitimately the day we observe as Easter, except we celebrate more frequently in Christ than the old tradition of celebration by the Hebrews beginning at sundown on the evening of 15 Nissan.
Our Lord counseled against the false doctrine of the Pharisees typified by leaven: “Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” (Matthew 16:6) Shall we obey Christ both spiritually and symbolically, or shall we use the lesser symbol representing false doctrine? Perhaps you did not grasp the significance in the words of our Lord? Neither did the disciples! “And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. 8Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? 9Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 10Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 11How 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?” (Matt 16:7-11) Great truths of the Bible are revealed in symbols. Let’s not corrupt the meaning. “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.” (Matthew 16:12)