Holiday meals are usually a festive occasion. This is certainly true of holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, and other holidays are also often celebrated by feasting and gathering with loved ones. But the atmosphere of the first Passover was somber rather than festive. It was probably terrifying to those who originally participated in the meal. As they ate, God’s people recited a liturgy that described how they would be spared while others died (see Ex. 12:26–27). At midnight “a great cry” went up throughout the land. This was a wail of grief from every Egyptian home where the firstborn perished.
The message of the first Passover meal was one of judgment as well as protection. Those who shared in the meal were protected by the blood of the lamb applied to the lintel (i.e., the top) and door posts of the home’s entrance. Those shielded by the blood were protected from the destroying angel who executed God’s promised judgment on the rest of the Egyptian households.
The first Christians saw a parallel between this event and the suffering of Christ. Like the blood of the Passover lamb, Christ’s blood shields believers from the punishment that their sins merit. Using this analogy, the apostle Paul urged the Corinthian church to address the sinful practices of some in the congregation. Just as the Israelites were required to remove leaven (the agent that makes bread rise) from their homes prior to observing Passover, Paul told the church to remove one member who was involved in an illicit sexual relationship (see 1 Cor. 5:1–5). This may seem harsh to some today. But Paul offered a very practical reason for the command: “a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough” (1 Cor. 5:7).
The sin of one can affect many. Take stock of your own life. Have you been tolerant of sinful attitudes and practices? If the answer is yes, you are putting others at risk as well as yourself. Ask God’s Spirit to reveal those things that are offensive to Him and to lead you in the right path. Review Psalm 139:23–24 to help you on this path.