Christ Our Passover
1 Corinthians 5:7, 8
Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened…

At no point is the relation between Christianity and the old economy of the Law more profoundly interesting and significant than at that which is indicated in this passage. Of the Passover it is emphatically true that it was as a "shadow," of which the substance, the body, is in Christ. The memorial of that grand Divine interposition by which the Hebrews passed out of their primitive state of miserable subjection to a foreign power into that of a free and independent people with Jehovah as their King, it also foreshadowed the great redemption of the Church, and the establishment of that eternal kingdom of which Christ is the living Lord. Consider -

(1) The analogy;

(2) the exhortation based on it.

I. THE ANALOGY. "Christ our Passover." Both in the type and in the antitype we have:

1. A vicarious sacrifice. The slaying of the Paschal lamb, which was the leading feature in the whole Passover festival, was clearly of this nature. The lamb was a blameless creature, the very emblem of simple, guileless innocence. It had no share in the sins and sorrows of the people. Unlike them, it needed no redemption. It was the victim of their necessities. It suffered death for their sakes, died to serve the interests of their life. The broad mark of resemblance, in this respect, between the lamb and Christ is the very heart and core of the meaning of the text. In him we see the highest expression of that great law of self sacrifice which pervades the universe, and of which the slaying of the Paschal lamb (as, indeed, the slaying of every lamb) was one of the lower forms. "Not for himself was he cut off; Wounded for our transgressions;" "Slain for us." The innocence of the lamb, and especially the fact that it was "without blemish," the very flower of the flock, was typical of his sinless perfection, his absolute exemption from the evil that belongs to us. While its patient yielding up of its life dimly imaged forth the sublime self surrender of his love, when, for our sakes, he "offered himself without spot unto God."

2. The instrument of a great deliverance. The sprinkling of the blood on the door posts of the Israelites was both the condition of their safety and the sign and pledge to them that they were safe (Hebrews 11:27). There could be no fitness in the phrase, "Christ our Passover," except as meaning that the blood of Christ is to us the means of an infinitely greater deliverance. Salvation from death for the human race, through the virtue of his death as its Representative and Head, is the fundamental truth of the Christian system. On this truth rests the whole fabric of the kingdom of God among men. It is a kingdom founded, built up, consummated, glorified, by the power of a crucified Redeemer. We are reminded how -

"All the souls that are were forfeit once,
And he who might the vantage best have took
Found out the remedy." We have redemption through his blood, delivered by it from "the power of darkness." And the destroying angel cannot touch the house that has taken shelter under the shield of its efficacious grace.

3. The pledge and seal of a consecrated life. The first Passover marked the beginning for the Hebrews of a new and distinctly national existence. However slow they may have been to recognize the full meaning of this, the most prominent feature of their position ever after was that principle of separation and consecration to the Lord, of which the blood of the Paschal lamb was the symbol and the seal. Special emphasis is given to this by the fact that the Passover was at first a purely family observance. Its moral influence began at the very fountainhead of national life - the family circle. It was thus the memorial of a covenant that existed before the Law, before the priesthood; and may well be regarded as prefiguring a grace that is independent of all national and ecclesiastical conditions, all Churches, priesthoods, ritual orders - the bond of the fellowship of the elect and reconciled children of God. Thus is participation in Christ, "our Passover," the beginning of a new life, the seal of a new Divine relationship, the charter of spiritual freedom, the pledge of personal consecration, the passport to citizenship in the eternal kingdom of God.

II. THE EXHORTATION. "Wherefore let us keep the feast, not with the old leaven," etc. The seven days' Feast of Unleavened Bread followed the slaying of the Paschal lamb. In "the feast" the apostle may possibly have indirect reference to that sacred observance of "the Lord's Supper," in the institution of which he himself developed the Jewish Passover into its simpler Christian form (Luke 22:15, 16). This also, though no sacrifice, is both a memorial and a prophecy. "As often as ye eat," etc. (1 Corinthians 11:26). But the reference is far broader. It indicates the life long feast of Christian fellowship and service. We are reminded:

1. That the value of all the solemnities of our religion - sabbaths, sacred seasons, special Divine manifestations, acts of worship, etc. - lies in the influence they exert on our personal character and conduct. Let our daily life be a "sacrament," a solemn yet joyous Passover of love, and gratitude, and trust, and praise.

2. That in order to this we must be "purged from our old sins." The evil of the past must be resolutely abandoned. "Malice and wickedness" cast out from our dwellings, that "sincerity and truth" may take their place. Simplicity of mind, singleness of heart, honesty of purpose, - these are the cardinal Christian virtues, the very "bread and staff of life" to all Christian strength and nobleness. - W.

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 True Church a Feast
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