The week before Passover has always been a very special week for the people of Israel. It is the time when all of Israel was searching out to find the perfect, spotless lamb for Passover. It was a time of inner reflection — both on the past and coming year. Where did I fall short this past year? How can I do better in the coming year?
It is a time for reflection as we clean out the leaven from our homes and hearts. It is a somber time when the reality of our sins becomes more real as we select the perfect lamb to offer in atonement for our sins.
In Biblical days, the lamb would spend this final week of Passover preparations with the family who had selected it. He would eat, sleep, and essentially become part of the family. This was an important part of the Passover preparations because it made the consequences of sin more tangible for them. When you have to see the living creature that will be a substitute for you, it becomes clearer that your actions have consequences and the way you think about your decisions begins to change.
The Passover lamb was selected to be a substitute in exchange for us. When we sin, that sin must be removed from our lives before we can draw close to God again. But in order to remove that sin, a price must be paid. YHVH created a system whereby the debt caused by our sin could be paid for with the life of an animal. Think back to Adam and Eve in the Garden. When Adam and Eve disobeyed YHVH, they brought sin into the Garden and their eyes were opened to their nakedness. The Word tells us that YHVH then fashioned clothes for them out of animal skins in order to cover their nakedness – the first animal who died in exchange for a human’s sin.
This is the same concept behind the Passover lamb. The angel of death in Egypt passed over the doorposts which had the blood of the lamb, thereby giving the first-borns mercy and allowing them to live. Fast forward 2,000 years and its clear to see that Yeshua was the Passover lamb Who was our substitute so we also could have life despite our sins.
When you realize that another living creature must act as a substitute to cover your sins, it causes you to be more cautious and intentional in your decisions. It becomes a deterrence from having sin in your life.
Today, without a working Temple in Jerusalem, there is no Passover lamb that is offered for our sins. However, we still clean out our hearts and homes from the leaven within.
In Hebrew, the word chametz is used to describe something that has been leavened. Chametz is anything that has been “puffed up” and in the same way leaven “puffs up” food, sin “puffs” us up. Sin creates a barrier and a distance from God. When we are distant from God, we pridefully believe we don’t need Him anymore; that we can survive without Him. During the Passover season, we remove the chametz from our hearts and homes in obedience to YHVH’s Torah. But at the same time we are removing the physical chametz from our homes, we are removing the spiritual chametz from our hearts as well.
So this Passover, as you rid your home of chametz, don’t forget that cleaning out your heart is just as, if not the most, important part of Passover. Ask YHVH to reveal what things need to be removed. Thank Him for His Son Yeshua Who was our Passover Lamb. And thank Him for freeing us from the bondage of slavery and sin and bringing us into the quiet, desert place where He reveals His Word to us.
Chag Sameach Pesach!