Chapter 12:14-28 (ESV) - This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. On the first day you shall hold a holy assembly, and on the seventh day a holy assembly. No work shall be done on those days. But what everyone needs to eat, that alone may be prepared by you. And you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day, throughout your generations, as a statute forever. In the first month, from the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. For seven days no leaven is to be found in your houses. If anyone eats what is leavened, that person will be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a sojourner or a native of the land. You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwelling places you shall eat unleavened bread.”
Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you. You shall observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever. And when you come to the land that the Lord will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this service. And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the Lord's Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.’” And the people bowed their heads and worshiped.
Then the people of Israel went and did so; as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.
Question to consider: Why did God require them to eat unleavened bread for seven days?
Because leaven works its way through a lump of dough, it was viewed as a picture of sin which tends to work its way through a population of people. The command to get rid of all leaven and eat unleavened bread for seven days pointed to God’s desire for people to be holy as He is holy. When Jesus inaugurated the everlasting covenant through the Passover meal in the upper room, He spoke of the bread as His body which would be given into death for our sins. Thus, this seven-day feast was serious enough that if someone failed to keep it, they would be cast out of the assembly.
Even today, the Jews have a ceremonial cleansing of their houses from leaven and celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread along with the Passover meal. As I mentioned yesterday, this ordinance from God was more than a remembrance but a participation in the deliverance of Israel. Thus, people are told to eat it with girded loins in which to quickly make their escape when the time of judgment comes. The only difference today is that those who celebrate the Passover do not mark their doors with the blood of the Lamb. This was a one-time event and served as a mark that the house was to be passed over by the destroyer.
It must have been an amazing thing for the Israelites to receive these messages from God, for God had remained silent for 400 years as Israel served in slavery, and now they were immersed in the presence of God as they watched Egypt endure the plagues and knew that their deliverance had finally arrived.
O Lord God, who in the wondrous Sacrament of the Altar have left us a remembrance of Your Passion, grant that we may so receive the sacred mystery of Your body and blood that the fruits of Your redemption may continually be manifest in us; as You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.