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Why is Lent 40 Days Long?

February 28, 2017

Today's post is from Concordia Chaplain Rev. Roger Nuerge. Concordia's Chaplaincy Department actively contributes to our residents' well being and is an essential component to Concordia's brand of faith-based care. Enjoy!

Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, is March 1 this year. Did you know the word Lent is not in the Bible? There is no command to observe Lent. Over the years, as the Christian Church celebrated Good Friday and Easter, Lent developed into a 40-day season to help God's people prepare to celebrate Good Friday and Easter more fully.

Rev Nuerge CropOne might wonder, why 40 days? The significance of the 40 days for the believer is that the scripture records that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting for 40 days and 40 nights, Jesus was hungry. It was then that the tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." (Matthew 4) What kind of Messiah was Jesus to be?

Would he accomplish his mission by using his supernatural power for his own needs and change stones to bread so he could eat? No! Instead Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God."

Would he accomplish his mission by using his power to win a large following by carrying out extravagant miracles or magic like throwing himself down from the top of the temple? No! Instead Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:16, "Do not put the Lord your God to the test."

Would he accomplish his mission by compromising with Satan and bowing down and worshipping him? No! Instead Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:13, "Worship your God and serve him only."

Jesus resisted the temptations of the devil even when he was hungry and weak because he had no inward inclination or desire to sin. He is God, and he did not sin in any way: whether in action, word or inner desire. Jesus' temptation was real. He was tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15) Jesus used the most powerful weapon there is to defeat Satan. He used the sword of the Spirit, which is God's word. (Ephesians 6:17)

He did that for us because we don't do so well. We, like the children of Israel in their 40-year wilderness wandering, grumble and complain when we face a lack of life's necessities. When tempted and tested, we are quick to blame God for our life of misfortune and hardship, and we fail to use and believe God's word to find our support, strength and help.

The 40 days of Lent is a reminder to believers that Jesus is the one we need. He resisted the temptation of the devil all the way to the cross of Good Friday so we could be forgiven, and He rose again from the dead on Easter Sunday to open death and the grave for us so we can live with our Creator and Savior eternally.

The 40 days of Lent truly prepare us to celebrate Good Friday and Easter more fully.

For more information on the health and senior care services offered at Concordia, message us through the Contact form on our website or call 724-352-1571.

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