Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the season known as Lent. It’s a time when we focus on our great need for Jesus, what He sacrificed for us, and His high calling in our lives to be faithful.
Lent is the 40 day period that starts on Ash Wednesday and goes until Easter. Why 40 Days? 40 is a very important Biblical number. In the Old Testament, God punished mankind by sending a flood over the earth for 40 days and nights. The people of Nineveh repented of their sins with 40 days of fasting. The Prophet Ezekiel lay on his right side for 40 days as a precursor to the siege and destruction of Jerusalem. The Prophet Elijah fasted and prayed for 40 days on Mount Horeb. Moses fasted 40 days and nights while on Mount Sinai. Moses and the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 penitential years until they entered the Promised Land.
In the New Testament, the Lord fasted for 40 days and nights in preparation for the beginning of His public ministry. And that is the main reason for the 40 days. We “imitate” or follow that example of Jesus.
The thing that is powerful to me about this concept is the notion that is we forget sometimes what Jesus did for us. We talk so much about His love, His mercy, His grace, His compassion, all these things, that we forget what these things cost Him.
Just how much it cost Him to accept us.
We know that grace is free. But it is not cheap. It cost Him more than we could ever imagine.
We don’t need to forget that. It was for us He bled and died. It was for us He suffered.
It was for OUR sin.
It was for MY sin.
And so, when we “give up” something for Lent, we are remembering His suffering. And here is the thing. We aren’t giving things up to show that we are spiritual supermen or women, we doing it to be driven to prayer. Every time you miss whatever it is you are giving up, pray.
Every time you have a craving for whatever it is you are giving up, pray.
Every time you think about what Jesus has done for you, pray.
May we have a holy Lent. May we reflect upon what He has done for us. And may we remember all that we have to be thankful for.
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