Q&A: Yeast

by Aaron

I have a friend who just started reading the Bible for the first time in her life. Today she asked me why did they not use yeast in bread in the beginning?  I told her I would find out and get back to her... So, can you tell me why?

I assume she means in temple worship or Passover because the Hebrews did use yeast in their bread making.
During Passover the Jews are to rid their homes of yeast as a representation of getting rid of sin, or putting off sin. The actual Hebrew word actually isn’t even “yeast” it is “leaven.” Yeast would be impossible to get out of your house because it floats around in the air, leaven is what they would add to bread to make it rise and give it shape (like a starter for sourdough).
During Passover Jews were to rid their homes of leaven; today, in strict sense, that would even include cake mixes in your pantry as it includes not yeast, but leaven (in a sense). Directly after Passover the Jews celebrate the feast of unleavened bread (we use unleavened bread for communion called matzah).
Some people think Jesus was teaching His followers to get rid of yeast when He says in Matt 16:5-6 When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Jesus goes on to say this teaching is not in reference to yeast/leaven, but the false teachings of the religious leaders (verses 8-10). Some translations use the word yeast instead of leaven and make the text lose all meaning what-so-ever; The Message says it like this “On their way to the other side of the lake, the disciples discovered they had forgotten to bring along bread. In the meantime, Jesus said to them, "Keep a sharp eye out for Pharisee-Sadducee yeast."…it makes no sense this way and The Message just lost the message of what Jesus was saying.
Again, leaven was used many times to refer to sin in our lives, how it rises and transforms us. The call in the scriptures was never to “get rid” of yeast (as a matter of fact they would drink wine during Passover and yeast is necessary in the fermentation process to make wine). The Old Testament only referred to leaven and it was only for 7 days, not the entire year.
And (Romans 6:14) you are not under law but under grace. It is wonderful to live in true freedom…don’t be afraid to make good, yummy, baked bread.