“I have come in order that you might have life – life in all its fullness” – John 10:10b (NIV)

The Christian Church has for hundreds of years set aside forty days (six weeks) before Easter to revisit Jesus’ life and his road to the cross. We have named this season of the church – the ‘Lenten Season’. It is a time of preparation for Easter. For some, this means a time for fasting or doing without, but traditionally it focuses on prayer and looking beyond our needs to the needs of others.

Lent has its beginnings on Ash Wednesday which is 40 days before Easter. The forty days of Lent actually exclude Sundays in their count, as the Sundays are ‘Easter’ (resurrection) days. The number forty is very significant. It is a reminder that Christ spent 40 days fasting after his baptism before beginning his ministry. There are other significant 40’s throughout the Bible. Moses spent 40 days on the mountain when obtaining the Ten Commandments; Elijah had 40 days on Mount Horeb; and the children of Israel spent 40 years wandering in the desert before they were allowed to enter the Promised Land.

“Christ himself carried our sins in his body to the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness. It is by his wounds that you have been healed.” – 1 Peter 2:24 (GNB)

As mentioned, the season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. On this day Christians were traditionally marked with the sign of a cross in ashes. This is a personal reminder of our human nature and in our physical death we will return to dust.

Lent gives us the opportunity not only to reflect on the life of Jesus, but to also reflect on our own lives over the past year. Through this reflection we often recall the many past sins we have committed and it would be very easy to despair, but we also recall Christ’s assurance of our forgiveness. Christ died a human death and carries our sin that we can be forgiven and have eternal life. Our slate is now wiped clean through Christ’s death and resurrection and we can again lead our lives in the promise of God’s love and forgiveness.

Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” – John 11:25-26 (NIV)

Christ’s ministry especially comes into sharp focus during this season: we see the love and compassion he had for the ordinary person as he healed and performed miracles. Then in the last week we see the fickleness of human nature. From welcoming Christ as a king into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, to rejecting him completely and having him nailed to a cross that Good Friday.

In it all Jesus helped his followers and tried to have them understand what was happening. He spoke of his impending death, but then also of the promise of his resurrection and victory over Satan and death.

Jesus helps us understand what it is all about – and the church follows this through by having the studies and meditations through the Lenten season. Jesus loves all his people, you are precious to him.

May Christ bring you the assurance of his love and forgiveness and ultimate victory with him in heaven.

I look forward to journeying through this Lenten Season with you.

In Christ,
Pastor Ben.

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