Apostle Paul spoke to the Corinthians in a very Jewish way: “For Christ, our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Cor 5:7-8). Did the Corinthians truly celebrate Passover? Did they even understand what Paul was trying to say by calling Jesus a Passover offering? The assembly of Christ-followers at Corinth had many former pagans, but many were God-fearers of Israel’s God. It appears they knew about Passover and its meaning. Otherwise, the apostle’s words would have been meaningless to them.

Corinthian believers were most likely familiar with the Exodus story and understood how Messiah’s sacrifice provided Exodus-like redemption. The teacher’s words were not intended to encourage them to go celebrate Passover as other Jews did in a literal way necessarily (at least this was not the point!). Rather, Paul used Passover as a symbol, as an illustration, of how purity was a serious and crucial concern that the Corinthians neglected.

In a broader context, Paul told his disciples to expel those who sinned continually from their midst. Just as Jews removed leaven before Passover and mixed a new batch of dough without fermentation for the feast, so should the Corinthians seek to be a new and unleavened or sinless lump. They should clean out their leaven and expel sin from their gatherings. In Paul’s Jewish view partaking of Christ is like eating the Passover offering in Jerusalem. It can be done only in purity or not be done at all.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Shalom. Thank you for this interesting interpretation. I have read that the passover was celebrated by the Apostles and early followers and by many until it was forbiden by Constantine and his “Church.”

    • Non-Jewish Christians did celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection based on Passover dates for many years until it was outlawed.

  2. Jews celebrate Passover with 4 glasses of wine. (Did they always?) In Luke 22 Jesus mentions 2 glasses, one before the meal and one after the meal. (Christians only take 1 in communion) Did he just use the 2 for his purpose, or was that the custom in his day?

    • The custom of 4 cups is old. Written descriptions of Passover meal ritual mention 4 cups (2nd century CE) but it is safe to assume it has been around long before that.

    • Yeshua probably also utilized all 4 cups. But you have to read between the lines to see all 4 because the text assumes familiarity with the custom, so it is not going to spell it all out. That is not the goal of the writer.

    • We are very happy that you’ve joined our discussion forum. Would you believe that these articles are only a taste of what Israel Bible Center has to offer? We also provide comprehensive teaching on a variety of biblical, historical, and cultural topics. You might begin with The Stories of Jewish Christ: Among the Rabbis or . You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!

  3. My heart desire is to know and understand Gods Word from the culture it was written in and to know the Jewish Jesus in the feast days.As a gentile believer been celebrating the feasts in our ministry but need to teach Believers more about Gods feast and how it enrich

  4. Jesus instituted the Lord’s Evening Meal After celebrating the Passover. Since he himself was sacrificed once and for all time, there was no need to celebrate the Passover ever again, but Christians were commanded to celebrate the Lord’s Evening Meal.

    • Gerry, Passover is not some made up fun-day, it is a memorial of God’s faithfulness to his people that Almighty himself commanded to remember as long as we and our children are alive. It is totally worth celebrating God’s goodness, over and over and over. Sorry, I disagree with your logic… It’s like saying Jesus prayed for us, so we do not need to pray anymore.

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