Lent. What is Lent?
No, we are not talking about that item which someone borrowed from you. We are talking about the 40 days before Easter. This year, Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent) is Wednesday 18 February.
Lent is the time of year when the Church remembers Jesus’ time in the desert between his baptism and the start of his ministry.
Luke 4:1-13 ESV
And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’” And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.
So it is not directly related to Easter.
But we’ll come back to that.
Traditionally, some Christians have chosen to follow Jesus in his hardship. Few if any of us will eat nothing for 40 days. But many will give up something that is important to them.
Chocolate, coffee, Facebook, alcohol, movies.
It is a useful discipline, helping us break the bonds of habits we are stuck in.
This is not a law. You are not obliged to give up anything. But what is God saying to you? Is there something that you should be letting go at this time?
And shouldn’t you be thinking about following Jesus in another way?
Filled with and led by the Spirit, he withdrew to a quiet place for a while.
All of us need time to withdraw.
All of us need to consciously, deliberately stop and focus on God and on who we are as His children.
Lent is a great time for this!
Take these 40 days to consciously reflect on your relationship with your Saviour, Lord and King. Focus on what he has done for you.
And this makes the link back to Easter.
Spend the next 40 days reflecting on Calvary.
Soak yourself in the Gospels. Remember the salvation you have been given, graciously and undeservingly.
And when you get to Easter, you will be in a better place to see the amazing love He has for us.