Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Sunday, February 21, Evening
By Judy Vest, March 17, 2019
Forty Days and Forty Nights
Read Matthew 4:2
“After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.”
Researching words to use when writing this devotion to honor our Lord during Lent, I revisited some facts I have certainly read and heard before but did not immediately recall. Have you ever wondered why the time span of Lent is forty days? That is the number of days and nights Jesus wandered in the wilderness. On the ark Noah and family watched the rain pour down for forty days and nights. In Deuteronomy references are made of Moses fasting for forty days on two different occasions.
What I do know is, following His baptism, Jesus went into the wilderness and fasted for forty days and forty nights. He was alone with only wild animals in the area for companionship. Exposed to the elements, Jesus was surely hot, cold, dusty, dirty, hungry and thirsty. Being alone in such a barren place with wild animals, in the dark, becoming hungry and thirsty, is way more than I can fathom. Not only did Jesus willingly go into this place for the sure suffering He would experience, it got worse; along came Satan to tempt and taunt Him. Jesus was suffering from the ordeal, weak in body, but He stood his ground with the devil and won the victory.
We have known of this battle since childhood; we have heard it preached from the pulpit. We know it happened but do we really comprehend and think it through? Do we reflect on this story during Lent? Yes, I believe we do as we humble ourselves and make our plans to deny self by choosing to give up something during Lent. We may be led to fast, give up a habit, or set aside money to do good for someone other than ourselves. Considering what Jesus has done for us I can not see anything we do for Him being much of a burden. He gave all and then arose from the dead to assure each of us eternal life with Him.
“O God our deliverer, you led your people of old through the wilderness and brought them to the promised land. Guide now the people of your church, that following our Savior, we may walk through the wilderness of this world toward the glory of the world to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.” Amen. (Prayer taken from The Lutheran Book of Worship, reprinted in UM Hymnal)