Trying to Understand Lenten Traditions

Read Luke 22:42,44

“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,” -John 3:14 NIV

I had never really understood the tradition of giving up something for Lent. In one sense it sounded like fasting, and another sense sounded like a New Year’s resolution. Those seem like good things to do, but why for Lent?

One thing I do understand is how I dread going to the dentist for a filling. Honestly, it is a minor amount of pain and discomfort. It looks incredibly petty compared to the discomfort of the cross and the pain of bearing all of humanity’s sin. In the days and weeks leading up to the first Good Friday, Jesus felt apprehension and dread about what was to come. We see this in His prayer recorded in Luke 22:42. Jesus asks, if possible, that he wouldn’t have to go through the crucifixion he was about to experience. Yet, in the same sentence, Jesus surrenders His will over to His Father. He knew it would hurt, and He was willing to go through with it for my sake, for your sake.

I can use my apprehension to better understand what Christ did for me. And I can use self-denial or fasting as a daily reminder of Christ’s sacrifice. A sacrifice made in order to complete His greatest work on this earth, a work that saves us from the pain of eternal separation from God.

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