In Luke 22, where I left off on my Advent study, we find the events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus. It begins with the preparation for the Passover meal, continues as Judas betrays the Son of God, Peter denies knowing Him and ends with Jesus’ arrest and appearance before the Sanhedrin.
When Jesus started His ministry, He spent time in the wilderness while fasting and praying. For forty days and nights this went on. His throat was parched. His skin dry and burned. His hair matted by his own sweat. His time of prayer was scuffed by the dust of the earth and dirt covered Him from head to toe. By the time the end of that journey came, He was weak, hungry, thirsty and vulnerable – a time ripe for temptation.
The devil wasted no time in trying to lure Jesus into his web of deception, but our Savior defeated him. Even though Satan sugar coated his words by using the scriptures, Jesus had a comeback for each one. Using God’s Holy Word, he was able to defeat the lure of the evil one. The devil left Jesus and He was now free to do what He came to do.
On Ash Wednesday, we have a perfect opportunity to thank God for giving us His Words in the Bible. We can praise Him with those words. We can honor Him and give Him due respect. We can confess our sins and know that He will forgive them. We can repent and ask for the ability to change. Through our Savior, Jesus, we have all those things, because He came to do what we were unable to do. He took our sins upon His back and carried them to the cross, where they were crushed along with Satan.
We may choose to give things up as an outward sacrifice of thanksgiving. The giving up is not necessary, because Jesus took care of all of that, but in honor of what He’s done, we can do things that will change the way we live. Redeemed by the Son of God, we can now share that Good News with others. We can give to the poor. Help those in need. Support those going through difficulties. Lift in prayer those who walk in fear and anxiety. We can be a friend to the friendless. We can live as Christ lived when He walked the earth.
Let today be a new beginning for all of us. As we travel through Christ’s passion for His people, let us leave behind the sins, guilt, shame and darkness of our past and move ahead with confidence that our sins have already been forgiven.