Before ANZAC Day we looked at preparation for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a Chametz hunt. They search through their houses and get rid of all the yeast. The Hebrew word for “leaven” is “chametz,” which also means sour, like sour-dough and waste. Leaven or yeast is used to create fermentation, which implies corruption, something fermented is usually something that has “gone off” that is rotten. So the Feast of Unleavened Bread symbolized a time when God called all of Israel to get rid of corruption (rottenness) in their homes, and therefore, their lives. In the New Testament, therefore leaven (or yeast) became synonymous with sin, which is the ultimate corruption, eventually turning all it touches rotten.
In those times evidence suggests “leaven” consisted of a piece of fermented dough kept over from a former baking, which was then mixed in with new dough, or hidden in it, and then mixed together with it. It then spread throughout the entire mixture. This is what happens when we hide stuff, be it sin or something else, in our lives. It is a picture of holding onto sin or not letting go of something we need to turn completely over to God. It can range from outright blatant sin, to more internal struggles like unforgiveness, bitterness, or a vengeful spirit.
When many of us think about taking communion we envision either a communion wafer or a big old loaf of French bread and a cup. The bread Jesus took at the Last Supper – his Passover was the afikomen - this is a piece of matzah, (unleavened bread) that is broken before the Passover meal. Part of it is wrapped in a cloth and hidden. After dinner, the tradition turns into a fun game for the children who search for the afikomen and are rewarded when they find it. The bread is then broken and distributed among the participants who all eat it together, as the last thing they eat of the meal.
Afikomen is actually a Greek word meaning “the coming one” (habba’in Hebrew) and is a clear reference to the Messiah. Whose body was broken wrapped, and hidden in the tomb. UNLEAVENED bread – without corruption. Without DECAY. Just as the prophets promised, God's son did not see corruption, he did not see decay, risen from death, he is alive. Children who find the afikomen are rewarded. It is truly a reward to those who find and partake in the life Jesus offers.