Today’s Reading: 1 Corinthians 5:6-8
Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:8)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Leaven is yeast, which in baking makes dough rise. If you have ever made bread or rolls with yeast in them, you know that you only use a little bit of yeast. But when you put it into the lump of dough and give it time, it works its way through the entire lump and makes it expand to twice its original size, or more.
This idea of leaven became a common metaphor in the Bible for the corrupting influence of sin. Paul’s point is that a relatively small amount of sin, even one sin, if it is not dealt with properly, can spread its influence throughout an entire church. Paul is reminding us of this constant battle that we have against sin within the Church. It doesn’t take much guilt and shame caused by sin to bring a Christian down. In the same way, it doesn’t take much sin to bring an entire church down.
However, the Church remains the Body of Christ by faith and has been made alive by the Holy Spirit through our Baptisms into Christ. In His second letter to the Corinthians, Paul will remind them that in Christ we are new creations. The old things have passed away. All things have become new. Specifically, what makes us “new” is the presence of Christ as He comes to His Church through Word and Sacrament. The Holy Spirit is the One who applies the saving work of Christ to us and strengthens our faith against the leaven of sin and evil. That is your position in Christ. Paul says “You really are unleavened.” You really are righteous and holy in Christ. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O holy and most merciful God, You have taught us the way of Your commandments. We implore You to pour Your grace into our hearts. Cause it to bear fruit in us that, being ever mindful of Your mercies and Your laws, we may always be directed to Your will and daily increase love toward You and one another. Enable us to resist all evil and to live a godly life. Help us to follow the example of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and to walk in His steps until we shall possess the kingdom that has been prepared for us in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Prayer for obedience to the Word)
-Rev. Kent Schaaf is pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Little Rock, AR.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Over eight sessions, The Messiah: Revealing Jesus in the Old Testament will lead you through the entirety of the Old Testament with daily readings, questions, and discussion prompts. After a brief introduction that reviews Christ’s earthly ministry, you will dive into the heart of the Holy Books that have spiritually nourished God’s people from creation to today! Now available from Concordia Publishing House.