The journey of Lent is a time to connect to the suffering and passion of Christ. Immediately upon His baptism the first thing He did was to go into the wilderness for 40 days.
Many of us would have launched a P.R. campaign, a sermon series, bought billboards, radio or TV time to get the word out. Not Jesus, He withdrew.
Matthew 4: Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished.
Two things we should note. Jesus was led by the Spirit. This was part of God’s plan. The first thing needed was to be able to understand mankind. What better way than to weaken yourself and go through temptation. For Jesus to fully relate to our humanity He needed to experience our weakness and what that would be like. I believe the temptations were real but He being also God had insider and first hand information of His Divinity we do not have. However He had never before been clothed and experienced human frailty in this way.
The second thing is that The devil waited till Jesus humanity was at His weakest point. The enemy never attacks us when we are prepared and at our strongest. He waits for either our worst moment or when pride fills us at our best moment. Both are times when we as humans may lean more on ourselves than the God who sustains us.
Lent is our time to be humbled before God. Our time to break from our reliance on ourselves and the physical world. Our true strength comes from our spiritual side. The spiritual side gives us understanding and resolve we can never attain in our flesh.
I remember my Mom as a child having me be quiet during noon on good Friday. She was contemplating the crucifixion and wanted me to at least respect that time. That respect and reverence has never left me to this day.
Take some time during your fast and shift the focus from your struggles and minor uncomfortable experience. Try and imagine what Christ went through. What was He thinking. Can you imagine the emotions and the rejection He must have felt. Even with the knowledge He would rise again the reality of the beatings and crucifixion must have been more than we can even comprehend.
Thank you God for going through this experience so that we can have a life we do not deserve and a relationship that we have to often undervalued.