March, the month of Mardi Gras and Saint Patrick. Shouldn’t we be focusing on more important ideas in preparation for Easter? Not all denominations of faith observe Lent, but perhaps we should examine what it is and what these days should mean to Christians.
According to Scripture, Lent is a sober religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar. It commemorates the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert, during which he endured temptation by Satan.
The days prior to Easter commemorate the death and resurrection of CHRIST. They give us time to thoughtfully prepare our minds and hearts for glorifying JESUS’ life, death, and bodily resurrection.
Christians can observe Lent, but they are not required to do so. For those that do observe Lent, the act of giving up something and replacing it with prayer and worship brings them to a deeper relationship with GOD. The days are set aside for more praise and worship. They do not expect rewards such as favorable answers to prayer or the resolution of health concerns. It is a desire for a closer walk with The Lord.
The number 40 is used over 100 times in both the OT and NT. It can be a period of testing, trial, training, suffering, and learning humility. GOD uses it in teaching His people. That might be a good challenge. Use your concordance and read some of the uses of forty. Here are a few reminders:
Gen 7:17 Now the flood was on the earth forty days. The waters increased and lifted the ark, and it rose high above the earth.
Num 14:34 According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection.
Mark 1:12 Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. 13 And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.
But, for us, it is also a symbol of triumph. JESUS was seen on Earth for forty days after His Resurrection. He is alive and at the right hand of The Father making intercession for us!
Acts 1:2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, 3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
So, if like me, your denomination does not officially observe 40 days of preparation for Easter, we can set them aside ourselves and prepare our hearts for another glorious Easter.
Sandy Pace, IOKDS VP