A branch of Christianity promotes and observes a time of "lent". It is a forty-day process that is exercised by certain believers in preparation for Easter Sunday as well as both the restoration of one's spirit and faith with Christ Jesus. The process consists of forty days and nights (except Sundays) in which an abstinence-sacrifice is made from something one may eat, drink, and/or do. Furthermore, it is believed that the sacrifice made during this time period fulfills a penance regarding one's repentance of identified sins. Although this practice has been around for many years, many believers within Christianity still do not practice it.
Forty Days and Forty Nights
In the Bible, Christ Jesus has just been baptized in the Jordan river, by John the Baptist, (Matthew 3:13,16; Mark 1:9; Luke 3:21). It was a baptism like no other, for Christ Jesus had no sin from which to repent at this time. However, He was the "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world", (John 1:29); of which He would fulfill upon His crucifixion.
After being baptized, the Holy Spirit leads Christ Jesus into the wilderness for forty days and nights, (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13). It was during this time that He did not eat food nor drink water; in fact, Christ Jesus was hungry and the angels ministered to Him, (Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-2). Although Spirit-led and willful fasting are presented in these passages, it is not to fulfill a penance at all, it is a fast for preparation of the spiritual work that God the Father had ordained for Christ Jesus to carry-out for a time period of close to 3.5 years.
However, Christ Jesus' hunger and thirst was not yet satisfied. The tempter (Satan or devil), tempted Christ Jesus with food for the body, with authority over heavenly hosts for His safety, and Christ Jesus' submission to him in exchange for both authority and glory over kingdoms. Yet Christ Jesus rebuked the tempter with scripture: God's Word is food, a person should not test the boundaries of God, and a person should only submit to God and serve Him as His Lord. Even after having gone through forty days and nights, Christ Jesus was able to resist the temptations of the tempter. He knew well within His heart that true sustenance of a whole person can only be satisfied by both submission and obedience to God the Father.
Several Years Later
Christ Jesus was later crucified (Matthew 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:33-34; John 19:17-18), died (Matthew 27:50; Mark 15:37; Luke 23:46; John 19:30), and buried in a tomb (Matthew 27:59-60; Mark 15: 45-46; Luke 23: 52-53; John 19: 38-42). However, Christ Jesus did not remain in a tomb, He rose from the dead with life (Matthew 28:6-7; Mark 16:6-7; Luke 24:5-7; John 20: 14-17) and He was seen by the apostles for forty days and spoke with them with regards to the "Kingdom of God", (Acts 1:3)!
Power of His Sacrifice
When Christ Jesus died after being crucified, He became "the Lamb of God" by bearing upon Himself the sins of humankind and dying in their place, once and for all. Yet because He himself was innocent and without sin, Christ Jesus conquered death and lives eternally. In addition, God the Father does not require any penitence from any person who seeks Him with a sincere and repentant heart. God the Father simply requests that a person admits that they have sin in their heart and that they confess it. However, they must believe unto His Son, Christ Jesus, as their Savior and Lord in order to receive forgiveness. These steps are not always easy to exercise, yet the Holy Spirit plays a sufficient role in helping a person fulfill this requirement and become whole.
Although a person, now a believer, may remain in Christ Jesus, it does not keep them from sinning again. It seems that as long as the human body continues to be connected with the soul and spirit, a believer will be likely to sin again. However, Christ Jesus has sent believers the Holy Spirit to help them identify, resist, repent, and confess sin. It is with the help of the Holy Spirit that believers can continue to maintain a healthy relationship with Christ Jesus and God the Father. In addition, believers may also maintain a healthy relationship with people who revolve around their lives.
In closing, although the process of "lent" was instituted to help believers with their spirit and faith in Christ Jesus, abstinence-sacrifice and penitence are not Biblical. Christ Jesus has fulfilled all matters of sacrifice to God the Father. What is needed from believers is the maintenance of Biblical standards for addressing sin and moving beyond it. Only then can a believer's spirit and faith in Christ Jesus be brought into restoration.
Let us pray. Dear Christ Jesus, you who sacrificed yourself for my sins, I come before your presence and ask that You help me identify, resist, repent, and confess my sin. Please help me to bring my heart into restoration so that I may once again hold a healthy relationship with You and the people who revolve around my life. Holy Spirit, please guide me and help me to remain on the right path that leads to eternal life with Christ Jesus and God the Father. In Christ Jesus name I pray, Amen.
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R. A. Gómez