Lent | 3.17.12
I Corinthians 1:18-25
I remember the first time I ever participated in Lent. I was in middle school and decided to give up chocolate. I was proud of the self-restraint I had, and the fact I accomplished my goal, and never cheated.
Unfortunately, giving up chocolate was a sacrifice that met religious requirements but completely missed the point. Giving up chocolate did not cause me to pray more, seek God, or reflect upon the cross.
I am reminded of John 2:13-22, when Jesus cleanses the Temple. At the Temple, people are trying to meet religious requirements, albeit the wrong way. “In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the moneychangers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, ‘Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!'”
While Jesus knew the people needed the animals to make sacrifices he was upset by the lack of true worship.
Needless to say people were not too happy about the change, “Then the Jews demanded of him, ‘What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days’” (John 2:18-19). The actual building, and their unexamined rituals, blocked the worshippers from seeing who Jesus really was. They did not understand Jesus was speaking of his crucifixion and resurrection.
There is no longer a need for sacrifice in the same way, a temple, or following rituals because Jesus has replaced all three. Hallelujah! As you continue through the season of Lent I hope you take the time to pray, seek God, and reflect upon the cross. “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14). Amen.
Junior, Political Science Major
You can download the full Lent and Holy Week Devotional Guide at:http://www.belmont.edu/religion/files/lent-devotional-2012-final.pdf