“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Matthew 5:17 (NIV)
I didn’t grow up in a church that celebrated Lent. I heard about it at school from my friends who went to other churches. I knew people who gave up sugar or tv or any number of other things that can be fasted. I saw that McDonald’s offered a fish sandwich deal on Fridays. I wondered why some of my friends would have a cross of ashes on their foreheads. I mistakenly did not provide an appropriate dinner option for our Catholic friends during our groom’s dinner. However, I never really thought much about it.
But over the last couple of years, I’ve wondered if I’m missing something by not celebrating Lent. Is there a deeper purpose and meaning to Lent that I was missing? Would Easter mean more to me if I made the effort to focus on Jesus for six weeks before the resurrection? Is there something powerful about fasting at a time when many others are fasting as well?
So this year, I decided to spend Lent focusing on Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
I don’t think it is a coincidence that my daily Bible reading started me in Leviticus this week. I know that many people start their “Read through the Bible in a Year” plan strong, until they hit Leviticus. Growing up, I rarely made it past those long, confusing verses about what to sacrifice and how to do it. Not to mention the lists and lists of rules and regulations that determined whether the Israelites were “clean or unclean.”
I agree, it can be a bit overwhelming (and boring!) However, the more I study the Bible, the more I realize the importance of the book of Leviticus. Did you know that the New Testament book of James is closely tied to the book of Leviticus, especially chapter 19? Did you know that all those details about the Law, the sacrifices, and the feasts are really just revealing to us truths about Jesus?
It is absolutely fascinating to me to see the connections between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Nothing makes me more excited than seeing Jesus woven throughout the entire Old Testament. The Bible truly is a book all about Him!
Over the next 40 days, I want to study the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. I want to understand what Jesus meant when He said that He came to fulfill the Law. I want to deepen my love of Scripture. I want to know God more. I want to celebrate Easter with a deeper understanding of the price Jesus paid on the cross.
I hope you’ll join me! I hope every day you will read the Scripture and the short devotional that follows. I hope that by the end of 40 days, you too, will have a deeper love for Jesus and His sacrifice.
Personal Reflection: What do you hope to gain over the next 40 days?