The 40 days of Lent from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday are counted by NOT including Sundays. While the Lenten days are days for spiritual, emotional, psychological and physical fasting, the Sundays are "the Lord’s Day” and a time of celebration. Accordingly, each Friday during the Lenten season, a different devotional will be posted here to help focus our mediation on the cross of Jesus. You may be using any number of devotional tools during Lent, but perhaps on each devotional, we might come together as a faith community in spiritual oneness and meditate in unity. Each Sunday, we will consider a different one of the components of the cross of Jesus which led to His death for our sins. May the Lord Jesus be near to us as we pilgrimage together during the Lenten season. And may we arrive at Resurrection Sunday on 12 April with hearts that explode with new understanding of the precious Treasure that is Jesus.

In Matthew 20:18-19, we read,
[Jesus predicted,] "We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!"

And John 19:1 confirms,
“Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip.”

As Isaiah 53:5 foretold in prophecy,
“…He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed!”

The scourge or the whip is added to our Lenten celebration today to remind us of the severe torture that Jesus received before His crucifixion.  The awful repulsiveness of this painful method of punishment points to two things-the awful depth of our sin and the awesome desire of God to have us as His own.  

In A Violent Grace, Michael Card records, “But Romans, not Jews, flogged Jesus.  While the Jews administered discipline with rods, Romans used what we would call a cat-o’-nine-tails.  …The only stipulation Roman law made was that a man would be flogged until the flesh hung from his back.  The blows fell until the skin split open and the muscles were severed; until ligaments tore and bone chipped.  Some men were disemboweled.  Many did not survive.”

We must never turn away from this inhumane picture.  We must gaze on it and fully take it in, to increase our awareness of our constant need for a Saviour, the seriousness of sin and the incomprehensible love of God.  While Jesus was certainly unjustly treated in response to His own pure life, He received exactly what He deserved as our sin-bearer.  Because our sin was so awful, when Jesus took it on Himself, God’s punishment was completely unleashed on Him.

Because God dispensed His wrath so thoroughly on Jesus, there is no more punishment left for the other sons and daughters of God.  Jesus used it all up--He took it all.  And now God looks on all of us who come to Him in Jesus’ Name, as treasured children who are desperately loved and cared for. Because He poured out His wrath on Jesus, God is delighted to lavish His love on all who call Jesus Saviour and Lord.  By His stripes everything in our lives can truly find healing.

Scripture and Jesus Himself spoke of drinking this cup of God’s anger against sin down to the dregs of the awful end. (Mt.26.39.42; Mk.10:38; Jn.18.11; Re.16.19)  

Thoughts on Seeking God during the Lenten Season

What is Lent?

Lent is the 40-day period between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday (Sundays are not counted) that has been observed by much of the Church since the 2nd century A.D.  These 40 days have been used in the Church in various ways, but all with the goal of focusing on Jesus.  Corporately in some churches, Lent was set aside as a time of teaching and study to prepare Christians for participation in the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  Additionally, individual Christians have used the Lenten season as a time for fasting, primarily from food, in imitation of Jesus’ 40-day fast in the desert.  But there are other worshipful and edifying ways to utilize the season of Lent as well.

Commonly, Lent is associated with fasting (self-denial) – and often limited to fasting from food in particular.  While food-fasting (foregoing designated mealtimes in favor of focused time with God) in its various implementations is the kind most often referred to in Scripture, it is certainly not the only fasting which can be practiced (Isaiah 58:6-9).  So in addition to the historical spiritual disciplines below, consider those things in your life which may be inhibiting your relationship with God – not only sins, but also “good” things that receive more priority in your life than they should.  How might you “fast” from these things?  For example, in the digital age, surely there is a case for most of us to consider the place that mobile devices have in our daily lives and to lessen the space allowed for social media in order to make more “soul space” for God.

Spiritual Disciplines

Lent is a time to focus on spiritual disciplines – especially those which we might not regularly practice.  Spiritual disciplines are devotional practices which point us to Jesus and assist us as disciples in the practical application of faith and developing Christlike patterns for living.  It is important to keep in mind that the practice of spiritual disciplines is not to gain the approval of God, but rather to draw nearer to the Father Who already loves and approves of us  (James 4:8; Jeremiah 31:3).

Historically, the list of (Lenten and all) spiritual disciplines is divided into disciplines of abstinence (things we remove from our lives) and disciplines of engagement (things we add to our lives).

Disciplines of Abstinence (self-denial) – Solitude, Silence, Fasting, Sabbath, Secrecy, Submission, Sacrifice, Slowing

Disciplines of Engagement – Word, Worship, Prayer, Soul Friendship, Meditation, Service, Tithing, Giving

For explanations of these disciplines and more information:
Additional Options:

  • Follow another online Lenten devotional.  
  • Sign-up to be a part of ECB’s weekly prayer and fasting discipline.
  • Use the Sunday devotional meditations found in the ECB App.