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A Guide To Lent

Someone I know asked me about Lent...

Unlike Christmas and Easter Sunday, Lent is one part of the Christian calendar that is not usually well known in the secular world. When a friend or family member from outside the church asks you about the season’s traditions and significance, you can share the beauty of the Good News through your answers.

So, what is Lent, exactly?

Lent is the 40-day preparation for the events surrounding Easter, namely the suffering, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is observed by many major Christian denominations, including Lutheranism, Catholicism, and others.

Why is Lent 40 days long?

This reflects the time Jesus spent in the Judean desert. According to the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke in the Bible, Jesus fasted for 40 days and forty nights and overcame direct temptations from Satan during this time.

What are the major special days during and around Lent?

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. Holy Week is the final week of Lent, starting with Palm Sunday, when Jesus rode into Jerusalem. Then, Maundy Thursday remembers the Last Supper, Good Friday commemorates Jesus’ crucifixion, and, finally, Easter Sunday celebrates Jesus’ resurrection.

Do you have to give something up for Lent, like meat or a habit?

Some Christian denominations practice fasting, prayer, and study during Lent. These are not Biblical requirements, but many believers see these behaviors as ways to help them focus on the meaning of Jesus’ life, sacrifice, and resurrection.

How did Jesus act in the days before he was crucified?

Jesus understood that he was going to die and rise again, and he lived and taught perfectly to the very moment he gave up his life for us. John 19:30 states his last three words were simply, “It is finished!”

But if you know Jesus rose from the dead, why does Lent seem so dark and sad?

Jesus’ suffering was physical, mental, and spiritual. He carried all of the sins of the world on his shoulders so that we would not have to receive the punishment we deserve. God gave up everything for us, and the reverent tone of Lent is many Christians’ way of recognizing and respecting this great price he paid.

Most importantly, however, this solemn time keeps Christians looking forward to Easter morning when Jesus triumphantly conquered sin and death. Because Jesus lived, died, and rose for us, we will enjoy eternal life with him in heaven.

Lent Infographic

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Easter Triumph, Easter Joy

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Triumph At The Cross

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