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 Sunday, 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.

Mark 15:17-20 records,

They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him.  And they began to call out to him, "Hail, king of the Jews!"  Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him.  And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.

But Philippians 2:9-11 promises,

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

The purple robe.

As we place this emblem into our worship mosaic, we are reminded of the mockery that surrounded the trial, beating, and crucifixion of Jesus.  The One Who had legions of the angel armies at His beck and call, stood alone and endured mocking.  Instead of welcoming Jesus into their lives with adoration and proclaiming His majesty for the crowds to hear, the soldiers were playing “dress up” with the King of kings and the Lord of lords and taunting Him with their words.  What should have been proclaimed to the world with great adoration, was instead a schoolyard taunt and an effort to have a little fun at Jesus’ expense.  The irony is that the taunting words were true.  The Apostle Paul writes that the words spoken with scorn and cynicism by the soldiers, will someday be proclaimed from the rooftops— “in heaven and on earth and under the earth.”  

That day in Jerusalem, Jesus was draped in a dirty, drab, purple, cast-off robe that may have been an old soldier’s cape, so that soldiers could play with Jesus mockingly. Someday, Jesus will be draped in a royal effulgent and effervescent white robe made for Him alone so that the entire earth can worship Him adoringly.  All the games will be over then.  Jesus will be the only reality and everyone will confront Him.

But that day, the purple robe was just a way to play dress-up, to pretend—to fake life and live it halfway.

The reminder of the robe challenges us this morning that the truth about Jesus is meant for personal reverence and global proclamation.  

  • When our lives are lived apathetically or unintentionally—with no real thought about Christ’s presence in our lives or Lordship over us; when we live to survive or as though our moments do not matter, we live irreverently rather than adoringly. We play dress up with Jesus—treating our faith as a neighborhood pickup game or some other diversion. We are irreverent and mocking.
  • When we keep from the world around us a message of hope and freedom and incredible joy by our hesitation or self-focus, pride or separation, we live privately instead of globally.  We play dress up with Jesus, dancing around in our daily lives and playing with the truth about Jesus.  We are exclusive, private and selfish.

We may never intend to do what the Roman soldiers did to Jesus.  But it is our daily choice.  

  • When I follow Jesus intentionally, looking for His presence in my life, welcoming His work in my life and joining Him in His work through my life, I am adorning Jesus for worship. I am reverent.
  • When I proclaim Christ eagerly and daily in my words and relationships with others I am robing Jesus in gleaming white to be known and embraced by the world for which He died.  I am global.

The robe of Jesus is a reminder to be global and reverent.

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.