Christian Living

Celebrating the Passion of Jesus

Embrace the Season of Lent in a Fresh Way

Many Christians and churches celebrate the season of Lent to remember Jesus and his passion for coming to earth to die for us and our sins.

This is a gift to us and not something we need to earn. When we accept Jesus’s present, he makes us right with Father God and reconciles us to him.

In this devotional, we’ll remember the season of Lent, building up to Jesus’s greatest gift to us: his death as the ultimate sin sacrifice.

Traditionally, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and continues through to Maundy Thursday (the day before Good Friday and Jesus’s death).

Some church calendars, however, end Lent on Good Friday and others on Holy Saturday. (Resurrection Sunday begins the Easter season.)

Because the passion of Jesus culminates with his sacrificial death, we’ll use that to conclude our devotional. This is a matter of convenience and not a theological statement or alignment with one Lenten calendar over another.

We think of Lent as lasting forty days. This parallels the forty days Jesus spends in the desert being tempted by Satan (Mark 1:12–13). This time of testing prepares Jesus for his public ministry, which culminates with his death and subsequent resurrection.

In truth, Lent spans longer than forty days. Though some church calendars tweak the details to make Lent cover forty days, let’s not worry if it’s longer.

Regardless of the details, the purpose of Lent stays the same. During Lent we focus on Jesus and his sacrifice for us.

Depending on the year, Ash Wednesday can start as early as February 4 or as late as March 10. This is because Ash Wednesday always occurs forty-four days before Good Friday, which falls on a different date each year.

Given this, we’ll treat the days of Lent as building up to Good Friday, starting with Day 1 on Ash Wednesday.

We’ll begin our story with Jesus’s prediction that he will die—and then rise again. Following that, we’ll focus on what occurs during Holy Week, starting just prior to Palm Sunday (the week before Easter).

This means we’ll expand the events of Jesus’s last few days before his crucifixion to span most of this devotional’s Lenten readings.

As a result, we’ll cover events prior to their appearance on the church calendar. For example, we’ll cover Palm Sunday on Day 6, several weeks before its actual date on the calendar.

As we move forward, we’ll give primary attention to the account in Matthew, weaving in passages from Mark, Luke, and John. This will give us a holistic perspective of the sacrificial death of our Savior.

We’ll also incorporate Old Testament prophecy about the Messiah to expand our appreciation. Along the way, we’ll tap into our imagination to better see things from the perspective of Jesus, his disciples, and the people he meets.

Throughout this, the goal is to consider Jesus’s passion and sacrifice for us from several vantages to offer a comprehensive Lenten devotional.

The result is an inclusive meditation to remember Jesus’s resolute aim to die on the cross as the ultimate sacrifice to end all sacrifices and save humanity. May God speak to you during this Lenten season.

Join us this lent in Celebrating the passion of Jesus.

Discover more about celebrating Jesus and his passion to save us in Peter’s new book, The Passion of Jesus. It is part of the Holiday Celebration Bible Study Series.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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