The Passover and the Lord's Supper
1 Corinthians 5:7, 8
Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened…

The Lord's Supper is not the Passover; but the one sprang from the other, and is to Christians what the other was to Hebrews, the memorial of redemption.

I. THE MEANING OF THESE ORDINANCES. In the Passover were two parts, closely connected and yet distinct.

1. The sacrifice of an unspotted lamb.

2. The feast on the sacrifice kept by each household.

Under the established ritual in Israel, the former was rendered at the sanctuary. It required an altar, and the hand of an authorized priest or Levite. The latter was within the domestic circle. It required no other celebrant than the head of a household. There was no altar, but a family table. The service was not propitiatory, but commemorative and social. The Lord's Supper can never be clearly understood if these two elements are superstitiously confused together. There is an exhibition, not a renewal, of the sacrifice of Christ. The altar has been served, and its occupation is gone. We have no more need of altar on earth, or sacrificing priest. Christ our Passover "has been sacrificed." What remains is the feast of commemoration and communion; and for this a table only is wanted, with one to preside and lead the service, not a priest to interpose between the Christians and Christ. But while these two things are not to be confounded, they are not to be put apart in our thoughts. It is not enough to say of the Lord's Supper that it is a social pledge of Christian friendship and a common hope. It may not be dissociated from the impressive thought and fact of Christ's atonement for our sins; and we cannot regard those who deny the propitiatory character and value of the Lord's death as competent to administer or partake of the Lord's Supper. The Passover was a family service, because it commemorated the redemption of a nation which was reckoned in tribes according to families. The Lord's Supper is observed by groups, congregations, or organized companies of Christians, because it commemorates the redemption of the Church which is arranged and reckoned in congregations or groups, all forming one "household of faith."

II. THE COMMUNICANTS. "Let us keep the feast." No alien or uncircumcised person might partake of the Paschal supper; but all the congregation of Israel was charged to observe this ordinance, for redemption was not the privilege of the few, but the joy of the whole nation. And for the occasion, distinctions of rank and opulence within the nation were ignored. As all classes had shared the bondage, so were all classes to share the joy of redemption. Let all who have redemption through the blood of Christ "keep the feast" of the Lord's Supper, and that in obedience to his command, not as and because they think proper, but as and because the Lord has appointed it in his Church. And let no difference of rank, wealth, or social position be recognized. The eminent and the obscure, the rich and the poor, the master and the servant, are at this, if at no other table, to eat of the same bread and drink from the same cup. Such as are aliens from the faith, or uncircumcised in heart, are not entitled to communicate.

III. THE DISPOSITIONS WHICH OUGHT TO CHARACTERIZE COMMUNICANTS. The Passover was the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Hence the apostle's charge, "Purge out the old leaven." We know that the Jews were extremely punctilious in this respect, and searched their houses minutely, lest in a dark corner some particle of leaven might lie unsuspected; for leaven was regarded as a symbol of corruption and of the self propagating power of evil. With similar earnestness should Christians examine themselves, and so eat and drink of the Lord's Supper. Away with the old leaven; the tendency to corruption which belongs to the old life is sin. Away with malice and wickedness; purge out even the smallest fragments of unholy disposition and temper, and keep the feast with sincerity and truth. The Corinthians were required to prove their sincerity by excluding from communion a certain "wicked person," whose conduct had brought reproach on the Christian name. So must we be ready at all times to prove our sincerity by renouncing fellowship with unrighteousness and concord with Belial. They were also required to have "truth in the inward parts," and so are we. We fall short of that strength of faith, fervour of love, and depth of humility which would well become communicants at the holy table of our Lord; but at all events we may bring, and ought to bring, to the feast hearts honest and true. "Lord, thou knowest all things." Thou knowest our shortcomings, perversities, stupidities, follies, prejudices, errors, and faults; but "thou knowest that we love thee." We are not at thy table playing a part or affecting devotion to thee in order to be seen of men. Far from us be such ghastly hypocrisy! Ours be the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. - F.

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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:

WEB: Purge out the old yeast, that you may be a new lump, even as you are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed in our place.

The Old Leaven
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