So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 1:27-28, 31, 2:1-3
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.
“ ‘Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it is to be put to death; those who do any work on that day must be cut off from their people. For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day is to be put to death. The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’ ” Exodus 31:12-17
The Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread
“ ‘These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times: The Lord’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the fifteenth day of that month the Lord’s Festival of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. On the first day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. For seven days present a food offering to the Lord. And on the seventh day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work.’ ” Leviticus 23:4-8
Do not eat it with bread made with yeast, but for seven days eat unleavened bread, the bread of affliction, because you left Egypt in haste—so that all the days of your life you may remember the time of your departure from Egypt. Let no yeast be found in your possession in all your land for seven days. Do not let any of the meat you sacrifice on the evening of the first day remain until morning. Deuteronomy 16-3
The Passover Lamb and Unleavened Bread
Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Cor 5:6-8
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. 1Peter 1:18-21
On Thursday evening, Jesus celebrated the Passover meal with his friends – the celebration prescribed by God to Moses commemorating the day that the spirit of death passed over the Israelites.
On Friday, the Feast of Unleavened Bread began – a seven-day celebration commemorating the swift exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt. The leaven (yeast) which makes the bread rise by a fermentation (decaying) process, was eliminated from the bread because there was no time to let the bread rise – the people needed to be ready to leave. “Unleavened bread” – bread not subject to the decaying process – represents the purity, sinlessness and holiness of Jesus.
On that first day of the Feast, it was also customary for the release of a prisoner – representing the release of the Jewish people from slavery and death. However, the people at the urging of their leaders chose a murderer to be released instead of the sinless Christ.
Further on that first day of the Feast, God directed the people “Do not let any of the meat you sacrifice on the evening of the first day remain until morning.”
On Friday, Jesus was crucified. As sunset approached, Joseph of Arimathea, a secret disciple of Jesus, got permission from Pilot to remove Jesus’ body from the cross and bury it before the Sabbath began.
Reflect upon the symbolism and timing of these events:
On the 6th day, God made us in His own image and “it was very good”.
On the 6th day, the Feast of Unleavened Bread began; Jesus was crucified and buried.
On the 7th day, God rested because His creation was complete.
On the 7th day, the followers of Jesus were observing the Sabbath – resting, recuperating, and waiting.
As you contemplate this Saturday in between the death/decay and resurrection, think about what “decaying” process God wants to eliminate from your life to prepare you for Resurrection and new life.