Reflection on the Practice of Lent
For several weeks I have been examining the religious custom of Lent with a comparison to God's Word. What begun as a brief discussion and discourse with a friend about Ash Wednesday, quickly grew into making several parts to the observance of Lent. It is a journey that has both challenged and taken me through many hours per workday of the project. The journey has taken me through peer-reviewed reference works as well as both articles and comments by people with a theological background. Yet, above it all, it has been the leading of the Holy Spirit, through the scriptures, that has taken me from one end of the Bible to the other. The journey has assured me that there is no need for the religious custom of Lent. God has already instituted the spring feasts: Passover, Unleavened Bread, the Early First Fruits; they all are in line with Jesus fulfilling the role of the Lamb of God for the redemption of sins for all mankind. People need to be celebrating these, with the observance of Jesus in them.
Passover. The People of Israel were delivered from the bondage of slavery in Egypt by the death of the first-born that were not protected by the blood of the lamb. Then this was repeated again, but this time also including Gentiles ... through the Lamb of God, Jesus, in whom believers are set free from the bondage of slavery to sin and are now under the coverage of His blood.
Unleavened Bread. The People of Israel made the bread without leaven; which was done without time to allow the dough to rise to its fullness. They did so to remember how quickly God worked in the evening of Passover to bring them out of the bondage of slavery in Egypt. Then this was repeated again, but this time also including Gentiles ... by Jesus, when He instituted the "Lord's Supper" with the use of bread and wine. The unleavened bread would become a metaphor for His body and the suffering it would endure unto death by crucifixion. The blood would become a metaphor for His blood that was shed for the price of sin but also belief and faith in Him. Through it all, Jesus was escorting the believers' view from death into eternal life.
The Early First Fruits. When the spring harvest was ready, the People of Israel took a portion of the first one and had it presented as an offering unto God at a temple. It was a way of showing gratitude to God for a blessing over the spring harvest and assurance for a successful latter spring harvest. In its practice, some of the seeds within the sheaves would go up to the sky, as a metaphor of the offering going up into heaven and received by God. Then this was repeated again, but time also including Gentiles ... by Jesus, when His earthly body was no longer bound to this earth by death nor a grave; it was transformed and glorified to go up into heaven into the presence of God the Father. When Jesus went up to heaven to be with the Heavenly Father, it is believed that believers who had died before Him, also rose up to Heaven with Him; therefore becoming the early first fruits of entering eternal life. The latter first fruits will be witnessed later, upon the day that Jesus returns to take with Him all the believers who have remained in Him.
In closing, although the Lent project began as a project of study with a friend, it has become a testimony to the instituted feasts that God has already established. The "Lord's Supper" has not only become a testimony of Jesus as being the Lamb of God but also of eternal life for those that abide in Him. It is my hope that this work will encourage the faith of seekers but also established believers of Jesus; that they too will embrace the eternal life that is found in Him. Amen.
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R. A. Gómez