A Time of Lent
This year has been so crazy and now we are in a time of lent, a time of preparation. It is as if we have been in Lent for a year now. A year of fasting. A year of separation and of waiting. So what is Lent? According to the Arpper’s Bible Dictionary Lent is, among the Christians originally the period of pre-baptismal preparation, but later of public penance. Finally it became a forty-day devotional preparation for Easter traditionally based on Jesus’ wilderness fast (Mark 1:13).
Websters defines it as
Lent: the 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday to Easter observed by the Roman Catholic, Eastern, and some Protestant churches as a period of penitence and fasting
Lent is a time a looking deep within ourselves and sacrificing so that we can fill it with hope for the future and be ready for the sacrifice of Christ and the gift of life and resurrection. We have been sacrificing so much lately but have we been looking inside to see what we can change to be ready for resurrection. Lent is based on the temptation of Jesus and there is a version of the temptation story in 3 of the 4 Gospels. Most scholars believe that Mark was the first gospel written and the others were based on Mark.
Mark 1: 12-13: The Temptation of Jesus
12And immediately the Spirit drove him out into the wilderness. 13And he was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.
Matthew 4:1-11 Says: The Temptation of Jesus
4 Then Jesus was led up into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil, 2and after he* had fasted forty days and forty nights, then he was hungry. 3And the tempter approached and* said to him, “If you are the Son of God, order that these stones become bread.” 4But he answered and* said, “It is written, ‘Man will not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes out of the mouth of God.’”
5Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the highest point of the temple 6and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down! For it is written,
‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will lift you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
7Jesus said to him, “On the other hand it is written, ‘You are not to put the Lord your God to the test.’”
8Again the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, 9and he said to him, “I will give to you all these things, if you will fall down and* worship me.” 10Then Jesus said to him, “Go away, Satan, for it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’” 11Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and began ministering to him.
And then There is Luke 4:1-15: The Temptation of Jesus
4 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days, and when* they were completed, he was hungry. 3So the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, order this stone that it become bread!” 4And Jesus replied to him, “It is written, ‘Man will not live on bread alone.’”
5And he led him up and* showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6And the devil said to him, “I will give you all this domain and their glory, because it has been handed over to me, and I can give it to whomever I want. 7So if you will worship before me, all this will be yours.” 8And Jesus answered and* said to him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’”
9And he brought him to Jerusalem, and had him stand on the highest point of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10for it is written,
‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’
‘on their hands they will lift you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
12And Jesus answered and* said to him, “It is said, ‘You are not to put to the test the Lord your God.’” 13And when* the devil had completed every temptation, he departed from him until a favorable time.
Public Ministry in Galilee
14And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news about him went out throughout all the surrounding region. 15And he began to teach* in their synagogues, and* was praised by all.
Satan tempted him with the desires of the body. He tempted him with the desires of power and authority. He tempted him with The desire to show who he was and his pride in his standing. Pride, power, and desire. And every time Jesus came back with the Word of God. Why? Because while he was fasting, while he was in his season of Lent he replaced those things with God and getting to know more of God in his life. All this got Jesus ready for his ministry. It prepared him to help others and to sacrifice himself so that we could have life.
So here we are in lent hoping and praying that it ends soon and that we learn something in the middle of all of this. Lent started last week but in this world it feels as if lent started a year ago. So what have we learned so far? We have learned that to heal our land we have to act so that our actions can not save ourselves but save others. We wear masks to protect those around us and if we love each other enough we will first look out for them to save ourselves. We learned that even if we can not see each other our love for one another is stronger every day. We learned what was most important is loving deeply and never letting that go. And now we prepare for Jesus’ death and resurrection as we finish the longest lent and the resurrection of a new understanding. We have learned about love, deep love and now we get to move into a resurrection of love. Maybe now we can live what God wanted us to in the first place. Maybe we can heal, listen to each other, confess our pain and transgressions towards each other and start living in love for God and for one another. That is my hope and prayer as we come into this season. It is going to take us being real with ourselves and others, Being willing to admit when we are, wrong, and to be willing to let go of the pain of the past so that we can move forward into the future.
 Achtemeier, P. J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. (1985). In Harper’s Bible dictionary (1st ed., p. 555). San Francisco: Harper & Row.  Merriam-Webster, I. (1996). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary (10th ed.). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster.  Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible (Mk 1:12–13). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.  Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible (Mt 4:1–17). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.  Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible (Lk 4:1–19). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.