So in case you live under a rock, it’s Shrove Tuesday (or, as I refer to it, “pancake Tuesday”) on the 28th of February which is really exciting and means I can stuff myself silly with sweet treats! But is also reminds me that Lent will be starting in under 24 hours.
As a Christian (that I kind of feel like you should know about me if you don’t already) Easter is a really important time for us as we believe this was when Jesus died on the cross to forgive us of our sins, and to show that He bridged the gap between Heaven and Earth. Therefore, we tend to do a lot of “celebrations,” for lack of a better word, and (especially in my annual traditions) this involves a lot of walking and a service in the centre of our town, on Good Friday. But I’ll talk about the significance of Easter closer to the time. Today, I want to discuss Lent and how it is significant and what it is supposed to represent.
What is Lent?
Lent is a time in which Christians tend to (although are not pressured to) “fast” in some way for 40 days.
It goes back to the start of Matthew 4 where Jesus is in the desert, fasting from food. He does this for 40 days and nights (a very common number in the bible, as featured in the story of Noah and the Ark).
Matthew 4:1-11 (NIV)
Jesus is Tested in the Wilderness
1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerting you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and wordship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'”
11 Then the devil left him, and the angels came and attended him.
In this passage, we see that Jesus was in the desert and while fasting, He was tempted by the devil to worship the devil, to break His fast and turn against God.
Why did Jesus fast?
I’m stealing some of the answer to this from (www.reference.com) which says that Jesus was fasting to prepare for God’s ministry for Him (to be put to death). Despite being tempted, Jesus remained faithful to God and as verse (11) tells us, He was guarded by angels after Satan had left Him.
Many Christians often fast, (most commonly from food – but it can be anything that they feel would be difficult to give up, to try and show more devotion from God. It is to say: “I want and love God more than I want or love said ‘item’.” Very often fasting is used for reflection and to try to become closer to God, in the Christian faith.
Because of this, I try my best to give up something for lent, or sometimes “take something up” that will either be a positive thing for myself; or, strengthen my relationship with God. Before now I’ve given up chocolate (several times actually, most of which I horribly failed at), bad language and overeating/being greedy. This year I’m also planning to give something up, the idea of which really makes me nervous, but you’ll have to wait to see my next blog post to see what that is! Along with this, my plan is to take up reading the bible more and spending more time learning about God and spending time with God.
I hope you found this interesting, I really want this to be remotely beneficial for anyone reading and that you find it tells you a little bit about why lent exists and what the point of it is. Although I haven’t published my blog post about what I’m giving up and why; I’ll make sure to link it. (Incase you’re wondering or reading this before my next post goes up, it’s due to be up on Monday 27th at 16:30!)
Although I haven’t published my blog post (as of when this goes live) about what I’m giving up and why, I’ll make sure to link it on here so if you read this later, you can skip straight there!
Question: regardless of if you do something for lent or not, what might you give up this year?
I hope you enjoyed, talk soon!