Lent, contrary to popular opinion, is not just about “giving something up.” Lent is a time for focusing on what Christ did during Holy Week to save us from our sins.
As Passover approached, Jesus set His face determinedly toward Jerusalem. Not only to celebrate Passover but to give Himself as our Passover Lamb.
And (Jesus) said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” ~ Luke 9:22 NIV
Jesus was fully aware of God’s plan and what it would cost Him. And He chose to go anyway.
Still, on the night of His betrayal, Jesus prayed fervently in the garden, asking His Father if there was another way. God’s silence was the answer, and Jesus chose to do His Father’s will. He could have called twelve legions of angels to come to His rescue, but Jesus chose to be betrayed and arrested. He chose to endure a crown of thorns, knowing He would be spit upon, mocked, and beaten.
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Jesus chose to endure the nails in His hands and feet. To endure separation from God, His Father. Then, as He gave up His spirit in death, He cried “It is finished” and became the perfect sacrifice for our sin — our Passover Lamb. His life for ours.
No one takes (my life) from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. ~ John 10:18 NIV
This is what we should remember and ponder first and foremost during Lent. There’s nothing wrong with giving something up for Lent. But perhaps we take it too lightly in things we give up and miss an opportunity to spend extra time pondering what it cost Jesus to save us from our sins.
May the season of Lent bring a renewed appreciation of what Jesus chose to do — for us.
Jesus, I will ponder now
On Your holy passion;
With Your Spirit me endow
For such meditation.
Grant that I in love and faith
May the image cherish
Of Your suffering, pain, and death
That I may not perish.
— Jesus, I Will Ponder Now, verse 1 (Public Domain)