There were those who followed Jesus and He recognized that they were following Him to seek a miracle. They wanted to be full from the physical bread He multiplied. Jesus goes on to tell them that He is the Bread of Life. There is great symbolism in the unleavened bread we eat during the spring Feasts.
[Darris McNeely] There's a Scripture speaking of children and our young people in Exodus 12:26 Exodus 12:26And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say to you, What mean you by this service?
American King James Version×, we could turn there, that speaks to a question that our children do ask. Exodus 12:26 Exodus 12:26And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say to you, What mean you by this service?
American King James Version×, where Israel is coming out of Egypt and it says to the children of Israel, "It shall be, when your children say to you," which is really a question, "what do you mean by this service?" And it's speaking directly about the Passover hereafter the explanation for that. What does all this mean? What's this all about? Killing of a lamb, putting blood on the doorposts? And when they ask you that question, and they do, and we all do, in Exodus 13:8 Exodus 13:8And you shall show your son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the LORD did to me when I came forth out of Egypt.
American King James Version×is put in a different way, speaking more to the Days of Unleavened Bread itself. In verse 8, it says, "You shall tell your son in that day, saying, 'This is done because of what the Lord did for me when came up from Egypt,'" speaking of the Days of Unleavened Bread.
So, with Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread, there's the obvious question from a child, from a young person, "Why do we do these things? What does it all mean?" And it's important to have an answer. It's important to have the right answer to anyone but especially to our children regarding the reason or the question or the whole thing about the Days of Unleavened Bread, Passover, which as we know is just a few days away from us at this time. In my younger days in the ministry, it was actually within the first year of my time in the ministry, I gave a sermon about this time of year in anticipation of the Holy Days coming up. And I spent about an hour, probably a little bit more in those days talking about the Days of Unleavened Bread to come and how to prepare for those days. And I know that I spent far too much time talking about the physical aspects of the preparation for Unleavened Bread.
I talked about cleaning that toaster out and getting every last crumb out. I talked about making sure that the freezers are all cleared out of bread crumbs, bread items, anything with leavening, reading all the labels to make sure that anything with yeast and baking soda, etc., was all out the door and gathered up and put out, and make sure that the cushions are all pulled apart from the sofa and the chairs, and everything's moved and vacuumed, and this and that. And that was a lot of my sermon. I had a gentleman there that day who was a prospective member. He had been attending with us for some time. He was a World War II vet, he was a Korean War vet, and he was a Vietnam War vet at that time. This was in the early 1970s. And he was kind of a tough, grizzled character. All right? He came by and he tapped me on the shoulder as he was leaving that day after the service and he said, "What you talked about kind of sounds like a college hazing prank," to him. Oh, I thought, "Well, you're in a bad attitude." I did not see Mr. Vaughn anymore after that, unfortunately. And I don't know whatever happened to him. But it struck him probably in the manner in which… in the emphasis that I had at the time that it sounded just a little bit off to his mind. And I kind of got defensive about it and probably gave that sermon once or twice again. But one day, about this time of year, a few years later, I was cleaning out my freezer, same freezer that I have today. I have a freezer that's over 40 years old, older than most of you in this room. Hey, I got a lot of old stuff hanging around. Make sure I get all the crumbs out and had everything out of there. And then it struck me that maybe I was spending too much time cleaning out that freezer and I was being frozen out of the deeper meaning of the Days of Unleavened Bread.
Why do you keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? Why do you put the leavening out? Why do you eat that flatbread as I was telling the students a few days ago as we were going through that doctrine? I said matzos are okay, but a matzo is really just a delivery vehicle for butter, maybe peanut butter too on there. It serves its purpose really best in that way in one sense, just on a strictly physical level. Why do we keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? A few years ago, I really started to look at the questions that a kid would ask as I was explaining it now to my teenage sons and adult sons to explain to them why we do all of this. And I want to take you today to a scripture in John 6 that I began to think about, and fall upon, and study to really get to a deeper meaning for putting out the leaven, eating unleavened bread for seven days, and doing everything that we do, so that even I myself could answer that question a whole lot better to my own mind. Because about 25 years ago, there was a major challenge to all of us about the Word of God, the Law of God, the Holy Days, the Sabbath, and I began to think as I was still teaching this, believing it, "Why do we eat unleavened bread?" It's dough and water, flour and water and some salt. What's the purpose of it? And why is it important to put out the unleavened bread, but specifically, to eat that unleavened bread?
Here in John 6 is an episode that in Christ’s ministry that is profound. It's very, very deep. It starts off in chapter 6 where He does one of His miracles of feeding 5,000 people and multiplying the food items, including the bread to feed 5,000 people, and then they had a lot of it leftover. And the people were just caught up in this miracle, some probably thought it was a trick done by this itinerant rabbi, and that's all that they saw about Christ at that time.
And then some wanted even more, and they followed Him, and came upon Him wanting what? More of what? Was it more of His teaching or was it another meal?
Well, in verse 22, we can begin to read about this and what Jesus said to them because it said, "On the following day, when the people who were standing on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other boat there, except the one which His disciples had entered, and Jesus had not entered the boat with His disciples, but they had gone away alone— other boats came from Tiberius, near the place where the Lord had given thanks— and when the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, or His disciples, they also got in boats, came to Capernaum on the north shore of Galilee, seeking Jesus. And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, 'Rabbi, when did You come here?' And Jesus answered, 'Well, most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.'"
He cuts right to the heart of what He perceived was their really… the real reason for them to come and to seek Him out is that they were looking, it seems, many for another meal or to watch another, "Could He replicate this? Can it be done twice?" Maybe they were of a scientific mind that they had to see that if needed… if it is something of a miracle, then you have to at least do it twice, maybe three times for acceptance on that. And it tells them at verse 27, "Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him." Don't labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures through everlasting life, quite a contrast, isn't it? The food that perishes, the bread that will grow stale and then grow moldy.
We all know that that happens. If we keep it too long, the green stuff starts to form and we have to throw it out. As opposed to the bread, He says here that endures through everlasting life, which is obviously the spiritual bread, something of the spiritual dimension. And in a sense, satisfies as He says here, and does not wear us out, food that endures to eternal life. You know how it is, there are some meals, some types of food that we can eat and it will fill us up. It will kind of bloat us and we feel full for a little bit of time, but maybe within an hour, hour-and-a-half, we're hungry again because there's not enough nutrition within that food. It could be some type of fast food. It could just be thinly made soup or some other food that just doesn't have a lot of nutrition. And very shortly, we are hungry again. But even if it is good food with solid nutrition, we're still going to grow hungry within 4 to 6 hours and, you know, 12 hours anyway, and we have to eat again. And really, there is nothing that is going to completely satisfy us forever. And what Jesus is really speaking to is beyond even food at this time because, you know, life itself for us is that we have to work, we earn a paycheck, we go to the grocery store, we buy our food, then we have to go back again within a few days. And then a few more days after that and it's a cycle. And life is that cycle. Nothing really endures physically. We have to replenish what's in the refrigerator, what's in our cupboards. We have to replenish what we wear because it too will wear out. We have to buy a new car every few years. We have to paint the house. We go through cycles in just about everything that we do in this physical life because it never completely satisfies and endures. Nothing does forever. We have to replenish, repaint, redo, rework. That's just the nature of life. And Jesus is speaking to something here beyond all of that as He begins to use this object lesson of food.
And verse going on, "They said to Him then, 'What shall we do that we may work the work of God?'" He said, Jesus, answered, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him, who He said, whom He said." That is God's work, to believe He sent the Word… He sent Jesus, the Word became flesh, we're told in the first chapter of John. The eternal spirit was joined to human flesh so that others could follow through repentance, and faith, and receiving that Spirit, and have the hope of eternal life. So that humankind could have the potential or the opportunity to become a part of the God kind. This is the work of God. This is why Christ was sent. This is what the Father sent the Word for and to accomplish and this is really what He is talking about.
In verse 30, He said, "Therefore they said to Him, 'What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You?'" They wanted to see something again physical to verify what He had said. What work will you do? “Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” The story during the Exodus of what God provided for them in measure for six days, and twice the amount on the sixth day to tide them over on the Sabbath, of this wondrous bread, maybe… not Wonder Bread, but wondrous bread from heaven, that came down as "What's it?" that it literally was, that fed them and kept them going here. And they kind of referred back to that. But Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven." He skipped right over the manna story. He didn't even pick up on it. He said, "God has given you the true bread from heaven. The Father gives it," He says. Now, they begin to desire this bread, "For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” This is the bread to focus on, the One who became flesh, God in the flesh, Jesus Christ. “And they said to Him” in verse 34, "Well, Lord, give us this bread then always." That sounds a whole lot better. That's going to be quite more… a bit more nourishing.
“And Jesus said to them,” to really bring it down to the point, He says, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst." He is the bread of life. And this is one of the several "I AM" statements that Jesus makes in the book of John that points back to Exodus 3, where the one who became Christ appear to Moses in the burning bush and proclaim themselves to be "I AM, THAT I AM” when Moses asked, "Who do I tell Israel has sent me?" "Tell them I AM." Jesus repeatedly applied that same name to Him in the flesh, showing us that not only was He a God in the flesh, but He was the God who had appeared to Moses in that occasion there. But He said, "You come to Me and you will never hunger, you will never thirst." In verse 36, "But I said to you that you have seen Me and you do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast him out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day."
So, a lot is packed into this particular part here. Christ says, "I am the bread of life." Again, pointing to the fact of who He really was before His human birth was divine, was the Word, was the one who was with God from the very beginning. And He begins to talk about this bread then that's come down from heaven that if we eat, we will never hunger again. When we stop to think about what this bread really is as we apply it to ourselves today as a New Covenant Christian, we automatically are drawn to 1 Corinthians 11 of the instruction regarding the Passover meal that Paul gives concerning the meal where Jesus changed the symbols of the Passover to the bread and the wine.
In 1 Corinthians 11:24 1 Corinthians 11:24And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
American King James Version×, "Jesus took bread," it says there, "and He said, 'Take and eat; this is My body given for you.'" And so we connect that bread to the bread statement here, obviously, to what Jesus would ultimately do and show that that bread representing His body, that we take it the Passover service. Obviously, with unleavened bread as well, there's the unleavened bread that we focus on as well. And again, as a New Covenant Christian, we take that unleavened piece of bread on the Passover service to represent Christ's broken body for us and then we eat unleavened bread for the seven-day period. And so, that's the bread that we focus on. We don't focus on manna. We're not doing that. Why do we do it? Why do we it, why do we eat that, that bread at the Passover? Well, Christ said… Paul writes, "To proclaim the Lord's death until He comes." That's the whole purpose and reason for that.
In verse 39 here, He said, "This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day." Jesus took very, very seriously those that the Father had given to Him, those that had been called in His ministry, His disciples, and the close disciples that were surrounding Him during His ministry. In John 10, Jesus says, "That I am the Chief Shepherd. My sheep hear My voice." And He does not like the scattering of the sheep. A lot is said in Scripture regarding that. But verse 39 tells us that we as His disciples are very important to Him. You are very important to Christ and to the Father. Having received that calling, having accepted that calling, having come under the blood of Christ through baptism and in faith accepting that, we are very important to Him, and it is not His will that He loses any one of us, which speaks to the love that we should have one for another, the deep love that we should have for one another and growing in that nature of a sincere affection for one another in our lives.
I love that, frankly, given the diversity of our backgrounds, of our personalities, of our interests, and who we are, that type of love can only come from God through His Spirit to keep us united, to keep us together, to keep us a part of the spiritual body, but also demonstrating in very tangible ways with each other in our lives, in our conversations, an affection, a care, a grace through our words, our actions that draw us together and keep us together. Now when you see the camp video like we do every year, every few years, I guess one is produced, but there's a very nice one that's been done this year. But one of the things that I noticed going through it that is common to every camp video we've had and indeed common to our whole camp program, it came out, again, in one or two of the comments I caught, and that is the camp just builds relationships. The camp builds relationships among our young people, among themselves, to their counselors, and to the adult staff that endure to this very day. I'm looking back now 25 years. I mean, I'm privileged to work with, in this building every day, young people. Yeah, they're young people, they're younger than me, but they got kids, too. But we work together in the early years of the United Camp program.
You know, I always said as a camp director that it really didn't matter where we had a camp program, you know, to get an ice camp facility is important with lakes and woods and all of the facilities. But I learned after the very first year that I was a camp director, I realized, you know, I could set this camp up in the middle of a mall parking lot and they would come. And they would have fun because they would be together. And in the early years of the program, it was really important to get everybody together and heal up from the period of the mid-1990s. But it was built on relationships, and it still is. I'm glad we have these nice facilities, and many of them are just absolutely superb that has been made available for us. But it's about the relationships that are developed. And it's about our relationships with one another when it's all said and done, and they are very important to Christ.
And we should love one another. And brethren, we should not seek to scatter. We should not seek to divide. That should not be in our vocabulary. That should not be among our plans. God hates division, just like He hates divorce. And He has a lot to say about the scattered sheep. Christ was touching on it here in verse 39.
Well, let's read on in verse 41. "The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, 'I am the bread which comes down from heaven.' And they said, 'Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, 'I have come down from heaven?'" They couldn't make that connection. They were just looking at Him as a physical flesh and blood person. They knew His parents. You know, that's the kiss of death to say, "Oh, I knew you when you were a kid. I knew your parents." And again, if there's any authority or if there's any supervision involved there, then that, you know, supposedly just kind of cuts through all of that and the gates, the authoritative aspect of the relationship, "I knew you when," or, "I remember this." That's really what they were saying. They couldn't get beyond that to understand the depth of His spiritual teaching and that He had come down from heaven, what had been given to them. They were complaining.
Christ came from the Father, the Father sent Him, and they were given to Christ. And everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him, it is to Christ that we look to have and have the security that we need. They were complaining as they talked among themselves. And later it says they were murmuring in verse 43 among themselves. And later it says, like down in verse 52, they quarreled among themselves over another thing that He said and they grumbled, which is what the Israelites did when they came out of Egypt under Moses, but you would ask, why were they grumbling at Christ or about Christ or what He said here? When you carefully look at these words, the Father doesn't grumble about Christ. The Father doesn't quarrel about Christ and what He has sent Him to do. Why did these people? Why indeed would we? We shouldn't. That is not what this is a part of.
Picking it up in verse 43, He said, "Don't murmur among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws Him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” A well-known verse to us. “It is written in the prophets, ‘That they should all be taught by God.’ Therefore, everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.” They work together, the Son and the Father. There's no division. There's no competition. They work together. "Not that anyone has seen the Father," Christ said, as He said several other occasions here, especially in John, "except He who is from God; He has seen the Father." Christ, the Word was with the Father and became flesh. This follows on from what John 1 tells us.
Verse 47, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. I am the bread of life." So He gets back to the center of His whole talk here, which is this bread of life. "Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, they're dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread, which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world." Very direct, very straight teaching. Eat this bread, eat this bread, and we will live forever. This is the bread of life, Jesus says that He is.
Now we take the Passover every year to remember the death of Christ and the means by which we have the opportunity to enter into life, the life of the Spirit. And it is important we distinguish between that and the life that we have in the flesh. That is part of this depth of understanding and teaching about Passover, Unleavened Bread, the bread of life, Christ, and His life, and His body, and all of this that is a part of the symbolism and the ritual that we take part in during this time of year, we have that opportunity to enter into life. Eat this bread, you will live forever.
It's the life of the Spirit. It is the life of the Spirit of God that we are taking in in this whole process. The essence of God in us, His very essence, His Spirit in us brings that divine life of God to our human physical life as it joins with us. All described in Romans, the eighth chapter, in a wonderful section that describes how God's Spirit works with our human spirit, how we are through baptism and through the laying on of hands, we receive that Spirit, but it comes into our life and we begin to taste the life of the world to come and the age to come. We begin to then take on the divine nature, as we receive that Spirit and we allow it to grow, to develop, we use it, we are led by it in this light. We put off the human nature and we take on the divine nature. And it's a lifelong process that really begins with our calling and with our baptism, which we then remember as also part of this Passover service. It is a rededication to that commitment we made at baptism. It is a renewal of the covenant we made with God through the blood of Christ and His sacrifice at our baptism. We renew that every year after a period of examination.
But we are taking on these symbols that are extremely important to us. We don't have a lot of rituals in the Church of God. And when you stop and think about it, we anoint people for sickness, we lay hands and anoint or bless our children, we lay hands on someone when we ordain them. We do that when we have the ritual of baptism, immersion, and water prayer, laying on of hands for the receipt of the Spirit, that's another ritual that we have. We have our traditions, in terms of our services, the way we conduct our services but in terms of the spiritual rituals that we see from Scripture that we do, we don't have a lot. And when we come to Passover and Unleavened Bread, with the Passover service, the foot washing, and the taking of the bread and the wine, and then putting the leavened out and eating unleavened bread for seven days, these rituals are from Scripture that has deep spiritual meaning that we take part in that are very, very important.
As I say, we don't have a lot in the Church, but the ones we have, we should pay attention to and understand because they are extremely, extremely important to this whole matter of eternal life before God and take them in a way that each year we renew a deeper meaning and not take it for granted or just kind of slide into it as it were. That's not what is necessary.
Going back to verse 53 here… verse 52, says, the Jews quarrel about them saying, "How can this man give us His flesh to eat?" Well, Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood…" So, again, a direct reference to what we do on the Passover service. "Unless you do that, you have," He says, "no life in you." And He is speaking to the Spirit life, the life of the Spirit. "Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."
And so unless we eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood in the symbolic matters that we do at Passover service, we then, He said, we have no life within us. But because we do through His Spirit and we renew that commitment with the symbols of bread and wine, we are reminded of this deep, profound Spiritual reality, that God's Spirit, His life, the real-life that is most important is in us. And that's something that I think is part of the preparation thought, a bit of prayer and thinking about to recognize that that is the life that as God's Spirit is in us, that is ultimate life. That is the real life. Now we pinch ourselves and we know we hurt, we're physical. We need sleep. And then, again, we need bread and other, you know, liquid to sustain this physical life. And there's no question about that. And we enjoy that and we recognize that. But we recognize that it's not reality. Reality is where God and Christ are. The spirit realm, the spirit dimension, however, you want to phrase it, that's where… that is reality. And God gives us the essence of His nature, His spirit, and that is life. And it is the earnest if you will. It is that which then begins to help us put on the divine nature and leads to this life that He will raise up at the last day with the hope of eternal life.
These are the deep, profound truths that we are working with during Unleavened Bread, during the Passover service as we focus upon these symbols. They are all the symbols of the spiritual reality that we have. He goes on in verse 55, "For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him." We eat His flesh, we drink His blood. And we know what we do on Passover and that's when we do it, and we know that they are symbols. We know that they are not literally the flesh of Christ, nor literally the blood of Christ. It is symbolic of both. But Jesus says that when we do that, it represents and shows that He abides in us, He lives in us. He will say to them on the night before His death, He will say, "I will come to you. I will come to you." And He does. He did and He does through the Spirit. This is what is being said here. The bread and the wine, they are the symbols of the spiritual reality that Christ is in us by the eternal Spirit. He has come to us and He lives within us.
In verse 57, "As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so He who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven— not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever." And He said these things in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum, on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee.
And so, what He is showing us in verse 57, "The living Father sent Me." The Father has blessed us with Christ. It is His will. It is the Father's will and purpose, as Paul will write to the book of Ephesians 1, "It is the Father's will and purpose in Christ to grant us redemption and forgiveness through the blood of Christ." All things ultimately in heaven and earth, the spiritual and the physical dimensions will be brought together in Christ. This is the profound relationship that we are drawn to. Christ laid down the path to salvation for us through Him in this whole process.
Some listening to this here could not understand and they left Him. It says they departed from Him at this point. It was too hard. It was too hard. And so He turns to His disciples and He said, "Will you too leave me?" And it is Simon Peter in verse 67 who gives the answer for the 12. He answered and he said, "Lord," in verse 68, "to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." His teaching, all that He was showing them and representing to them points to the knowledge of eternal life. And they were expressing the faith that leads to salvation and the importance of it. It's a profound passage that speaks to the very depth of what we do on Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. So what have we learned as we've gone through this? Let me sum it up with four points here. Number one, we eat unleavened bread… and this is to answer the question that I posed at the beginning, why do we eat unleavened bread after reading this? Well, number one, we eat unleavened bread for seven days to follow God's instructions. That's very clear.
When we read back in Exodus 12 and 13, but specifically in Exodus 13:6-7 Exodus 13:6-7  Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the LORD.
 Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with you, neither shall there be leaven seen with you in all your quarters.
American King James Version×, we eat that by God's instruction. Very plain, very direct. Exodus 13:6 Exodus 13:6Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the LORD.
American King James Version×, "Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day, there shall be a feast to the Lord. Unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days. And no leavened bread shall be seen among you, nor shall leaven be seen among you in all of your quarters." When the Israelites initially left Egypt on that night, they didn't have time to even allow it to be raised. And it became unleavened because they didn't have time. They were thrust out and thrust out suddenly, we're told in the Scripture here. But then it becomes that object lesson that God implanted within this festival that we understand and we carry on and we do it because we're told to do it. That's pretty straightforward. Second reason, we eat unleavened bread for seven days to picture the unleavened life of Jesus Christ within us.
We've just read in John 6 that we eat His flesh, we will live forever. “I will abide in You.” And we eat… If we look at that piece of flatbread that we either bake ourselves and some wonderful recipes or probably in the new cookbook that you can buy for $13.98 or however much it is, $12 or $15, or whatever… I think the money this year goes to the ABC International Student Fund, which is a pretty good cause to fund students coming at ABC. So, that's my plug for the ABC cookbook there. But I'm sure there's some very good recipes in there. We've got one from… You know how many cookbooks we've bought and put together of unleavened bread over the years in 46 years in the ministry? We've got a whole rack of them at home. But we're going to add one more I think just to support the current class of that. There's some good recipes for that. But whatever it is, it's unleavened and it should represent and it does represent the unleavened bread of Christ within us.
Look at Galatians 2, the unleavened life, I should say of Jesus Christ within us. Galatians 2:20 Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
American King James Version×, flagship verse, kind of a core thought when it comes to all of this and everything. Paul writes, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Paul is speaking here to the life that he lives. It is the life of Christ that lives within him. And by that Spirit, God does live within us. It is the Spirit of the Father. It is the Spirit of Christ. It is the Spirit of the family of God if you want to look at it that way. It is that and everything, but it is God within us. And when we eat that unleavened bread for seven days, that should be the thought we are focusing on that we have that life… we're putting that life within us. We need that life. That is the life that satisfies. That is the life that was the spiritual vitality of God that nourishes and satisfies the human needs, the longing, the inadequacies that we feel, and gives us everything and all things that we need in our everyday life and in the life of faith that we are called to on the path to the Kingdom of God.
Now, thirdly, we eat unleavened bread to be reminded that the only way to put out sin, the only way to put out the old man, which is the reason that we put the leavening out of our quarters and out of our homes is to picture putting out sin, but we know that that's a physical action. But when we eat them, the unleavened bread, the lesson I take from that is that the only way that I can put any sin out of my life, the spiritual sin that does… very easily beset us all, to put off my old man, as Colossians 3 tells us, the only way that I can do that is by putting on Christ, letting His life live within me, and in a sense, pushing out the old man, putting out the bad air if you will, with the good air that comes in. It's an analogy that I heard years ago and it still fits. You put out the bad air by putting in the good air. All right? We put out the old man by putting in Christ, putting on Christ.
In Romans 13, Paul says this. Romans 13:11 Romans 13:11And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
American King James Version×, he says, "It's high time to awake out of sleep; now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” Another way of saying, let us put out the bad air and put in the good air, or let's put out the old man and put on the new man. "Let us walk properly," in verse 13, "as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy." Those are the things we are to put off. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, put it on. Like the humility that Peter will talk about in 1 Peter 5 that we put on. And we have to put it on one piece at a time. And some pieces might be a struggle for us to put on because we don't want to put off the old. We don't want to give up something about ourselves, something about our nature quite yet. And we're not yet to the point where we can or want to maybe. “But we put on Christ,” is what is being said here “and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” We eat the unleavened bread so that we can put out sin, to teach us that that's how it's done.
When I eat that bread, that unleavened bread, even with the butter and the peanut butter and whatever else I might put on it, maybe a little jelly occasionally or whatever else we might have, I think that's the lesson I remember, that I need Christ in me to put off the old.
Fourthly, we eat unleavened bread to remember Christ's life. The Spirit is the key to fulfilling the righteous requirement of the law. Here in Romans 8, Paul speaks about the righteous requirement of the law that must be fulfilled in us. Romans 8:1 Romans 8:1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
American King James Version×tells us, "There's no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” As we are led by God's Spirit, as it is a part of our life, that nature of God in us, that, "The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus," he said, "has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin; and He condemned sin in the flesh."
We cannot keep the full spiritual dimension of the law without God's Spirit within us. This is what the Scripture shows. And when we receive that after repentance and faith, baptism, the laying on of hands, then we receive that nature of God within us, and we have then the ability to begin to keep the spiritual dimension of the law that Christ defined in the Sermon in the Mount and other places. But that is “that righteous requirement of the law” that verse 4 speaks about, “that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” God's Spirit in us gives us the ability to keep the righteous requirement of the law. There is a requirement to keep the law, that that law extends into the spiritual realm, you know, that Jesus spoke to and allows us then to begin to internalize that as it is written upon our heart. Unleavened bread is a reminder then that it's Christ's life within us, that perfect, sinless life of Christ through His Spirit that helps us to fulfill the righteous requirement of the law that verse 4 speaks to here.
So brethren, why do we eat unleavened bread? Why do we go through the ritual of putting it out? Why do we eat it for seven days as God teaches us? I think these Scriptures help us to answer that for ourselves and to provide an answer for our children, when we explain it all to them, as they are able to understand it year by year, as they mature and to develop so that they understand the fullness of the meaning of the bread of life, and all that that pictures and all that means. It's deep, it's profound. It is the essence of our life and it is what we should focus on as we prepare ourselves over the next few days to take that Passover and to keep the Festival of Unleavened Bread.
So, tomorrow, in the McNeely household, part of the ritual on our Sunday is to go into the freezer, same freezer that I've had that revelation all those years ago. We've got a freezer that's as old as our oldest kid. It's about 42 years old and it's still working. It's a Sears freezer. It may outlast all the last Sears stores when it's all said and done. And we'll clean it out. We'll spend what time that we need to do it. But while I'm doing it, I'll be thinking about some of the spiritual lessons as we begin to prepare for what I think is my 58th Days of Unleavened Bread. Number 58 for me. For some of you, I know it's more than that, and we're still here and we're still doing it. And that is good. And we will keep the days and we will keep the Feast according to what God says. And once again, as I do it by example and have the time to spend with my children and grandchildren during the Days of Unleavened Bread, then I will be able to teach my children, "This is why we do what we do."