Forty days

Lent — those 40 days before Easter when we look at ourselves in light of all that Jesus did for us. We see how much we need Him. Honestly looking at ourselves we must admit that we are not perfect. Not only do we make mistakes in our lives and our choices, but we know that we are sinners. We disobey God in many ways no matter how hard we try to do His will. That entails not just our actions, but also our words and thoughts. The full reality of how weak we are in living lives that are truly pleasing to God are revealed by Jesus’ words, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (John 5:48) As we recognize all of our shortcomings, we know that we cannot do anything to please God enough to make up for all of our sins. We deserve only the consequences of our sins; death.

That is when during this time of Lent we not only think of our situation, but we also remember all that Jesus did and why. Jesus, the Son of the Living God, took on human flesh and became a man, born of the Virgin Mary. He lived a perfect life. He lived up to His words, for His life was perfect even as His Father in heaven is perfect. He lived that perfect life for our sakes. He lived, in our place, the perfect life we cannot live. Then in that innocence He let Himself be falsely accused, tried, convicted, and sentenced to death by being nailed to a cross. He willingly allowed it all to happen as He took our sins to the cross. He died the death we all deserve. All of God’s wrath against our sins was poured out on His own Son. In Jesus’ death God reconciles us to Himself. With our sins paid for by Jesus’ blood, Jesus’ perfect righteousness now covers us.

Focusing on our extreme need in our relationship to God and God’s sacrificing His own Son to give us all that we need, is what the 40 days of Lent is all about. Yet there is more! Have you counted the number of days between Ash Wednesday and Easter (the season of Lent)? There are 46 days. So why do we always talk about 40 days in Lent? The answer gives us even more to think about in regard to all that we have done and that God has done for us. The six Sundays during the season of Lent are not part of Lent. Sundays are “mini Easters!” Thus, even during Lent, Easter’s reality is with us. Only in Jesus, all that He is and all that He has done, we have life with God now and eternally.

To keep focusing on all Jesus has done and all that it means for us each Sunday, we gather to worship.

Rev. Travis Grubbs is the pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church of Gowanda and Trinity Lutheran Church of Silver Creek.