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  • Writer's pictureRev. Jeff Patnaude

The Journey of Lent

I’m writing this on Tuesday, February 21st, 2023...otherwise known as

“Fat Tuesday”. Though I admit, I’ve done so badly on my diet in recent

months that now every Tuesday is Fat Tuesday for me! Tomorrow is Ash

Wednesday. As Baptists, we don’t make much of the church year. But at OBC

we have tried to at least mark these important days and use them as

reminders to turn our thoughts toward the Lord and whatever specific aspect

of what He did for us each special day celebrates. This year, in this article,

for Ash Wednesday and Lent I want to remind us of this truth: Jesus knew the

cross was coming.

I don’t know about you, but for me often the anticipation of some

worrisome event is just as bad as the event itself. Now, I’m not sure we could

say that of the cross! But Jesus was in such agony in the Garden of

Gethsemane that He sweat blood, so He WAS anticipating the cross and it

caused Him much pain. Ash Wednesday and Lent is a time for us to turn our

thoughts toward the cross in a special way and perhaps, as much as we can, to

walk toward the cross with our Savior. For He told us that if we wanted to be

His disciples, we would have to take up our own crosses and follow Him.

That’s why traditionally believers give up something for Lent—to remind

themselves of the suffering of Christ and of all that He gave up for us, and to

pledge allegiance first and foremost to Him by saying, “this thing I love, Lord,

I give it up because of my devotion to you!”

But Lent is also a time when we remember that Jesus knew what was

coming as He travelled, taught, healed and blessed others. Luke 9:51 says,

“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely

set out for Jerusalem.” He “resolutely” set out because He knew what would

happen there. And so in a sense, Jesus’s suffering began weeks before the

cross, as He moved ever closer to it, purposefully. We mark this journey, this

time, in which the Son of God willingly, resolutely, travelled to the place of

His death—a death of atonement for us—with 40 days we call Lent. Let’s

remember tomorrow, Luke 9:51, that Jesus made a conscious decision, knowing

all that would happen, to turn toward Jerusalem, to turn toward giving up His life

for us. Let’s travel that journey with Him over the next 40 days, fixing our minds

on Him, giving Him first place in our thoughts and life, consciously, purposefully, decisively, whether by giving up one thing, or many things, or by a special Bible

study or time of prayer or the wearing of ashes, or the telling of His sacrifice to

others. Let’s “resolutely set out for Jerusalem” with Jesus our Savior, walking alongside Him, loving and honoring Him with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength until

the joy of Easter Sunday comes—and forever!

In Christ,

Pastor Jeff

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