“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness. . . . And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.”Matthew 4:11
Throughout the history of Israel, fasting was an integral part of religious life. Israelites would fast on several occasions. In Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus is led into wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted by the Devil. In the midst of all of this, Matthew tells us Jesus had been fasting for forty days and forty nights. This moment is so important for Jesus. His ministry has just begun with his baptism in Matthew 3. Rather than run off to begin teaching, healing, and performing miracles, he fasts. He prays. He experiences the wilderness. Notice two very important truths. First, it is the Spirit of God who leads Jesus out into the wilderness. Second, notice that in the face of great temptation, the very thing Jesus does is fast.
Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of our 40-Day Lent season. While there is nothing particularly special about this season, Lent is a time when Christians all over the world focus their attention on Jesus and his journey to the cross. As we look to Jesus, we turn from our sin and turn toward our glorious savior who defeated sin, death, and hell. As we begin Lent, perhaps God is calling you into a season in the wilderness where you’re only strength will come from the Lord. What will you give up during this season to look more intently on Jesus. Will you allow God to use this Lent season to transform you more and more into the image of his Son, Jesus? As Jesus entered the wilderness fasting, let’s enter into this season of Lent, fasting from those things that distract us, and look to Jesus our Lord and Savior.
- What is the Lord calling you to give up this Lent season so that you might focus on Jesus more?
- How are you hoping the Lord will use Lent to grow you in your faith?
- How might these next forty days be like a wilderness for you?