The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, which is March 6 this year. Lent is the 40 days prior to Easter Sunday (not including Sundays) where the church focuses on repentance, fasting and preparation for Easter. It is a time when we focus on the cross—that torturous means of execution employed by the Romans. Why would anyone want to focus on the cross?
The cross, of course is the place where Jesus died for the sins of the world and while what they did to Jesus was horrendous, without His sacrifice on the cross, we are the ones who will suffer the penalty. We focus on the cross because of what Jesus did there and because it is the one place God has promised to meet us.
The great evangelist, Billy Graham, said that everyone loved his preaching until he started talking about the cross. Many found the cross “offensive” because it confronted them with their sin, their need to repent, and the consequences of their actions. And yet, we must come to the cross because without it, there is no forgiveness or salvation.
This year during the season of Lent we will be focusing on Jesus’ movement to the cross. Luke 9:51 tells us that Jesus “resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” One can only imagine the inner conflict of Jesus. He knew that Jerusalem meant the cross, it meant pain, suffering and eventually death. And yet, it was exactly what the Father had called Him to do.
During the next few weeks I hope you can hear the Father’s call on your life as well. As we look at Jesus’ movement towards Calvary, we will also look at our own need to come to the foot of the cross. We may not always find what we like, we may see some areas in our life that need to change, we may find that God is calling us in a new direction. Billy Graham said, “Once you’ve been to the cross and had the experience of His forgiveness and had an encounter with the Christ of the cross, you’re never the same.”
Here’s hoping that on Easter Sunday we are new creations in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).