Atheists are quick to point out that we honor death. Muslims are quick to point out that Jesus didn’t die on the cross. So why do we honor a death so severe that it’s unconscionable for many today to understand?
We are entering into a time that man has set for honoring the very crux of our Christian Faith. The Crucifixion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Many denominations have begun with Ash Wednesday. I was raised Baptist so I don’t really understand the liturgical significance of Lent. I have a lay person’s understanding. I wish to concentrate on the significance of this time. I’m sure our other authors will write about this. I and others here have written extensively on the symbols of paganism intertwined in Easter. That is not what this post is about.
This post is about the significance especially in today’s world where it is popular to say that those such as Islam, believe in the same God because they believe in Jesus. What they fail to mention is that they believe in a different Jesus. One that was born of a virgin, but was not the son of God, nor did he die on the cross. And many, many Christians believe this links us to the same God. Despite scripture saying it does not. In fact scripture tells us that if you deny the Christ, which means if you deny that Jesus is the Messiah or one with the Father you are anti-christ. And do not worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but worship the father of lies.
This time of year always draws me to the beginning, when Christ knew what his fulfillment would be. As a Baptist our season of remembrance was kicked off with Palm Sunday. Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey. Which this year is on April 9th. It’s impossible to tell from all the changes man has made from calendars and dates the exact date which Christ’s sacrifice manifested. But it begins with His triumphant entry as King. And I might add, prophecy also culminates with His triumphant re-entry to earth.
And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,
2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.
3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.
4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
What joy this brought to the people of Jerusalem, the people of the world, but many rejected Him, they rejected the cornerstone of our faith, and they still reject Him today. As we begin this Holy celebration let us remember what it is we celebrate. We celebrate the gift and ultimate sacrifice made by God in His Son, Jesus Christ. You see Israel sacrificed to forgive sins. God gave His Son as the ultimate and last sacrifice made to mankind and left it up to us whether or not we accept and recognize this. If we accept, we are in the Kingdom of God, if we deny than we are in the kingdom of darkness. The choice is ours.
Jesus in reality gave us this time also to remember Him, not in words that we celebrate a certain time or date, but He gave us a sacrament to honor him, with a warning about those who betray Him as Judas did.
And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:
16 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
17 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:
18 For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.
19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
21 But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table.
22 And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed!
So we begin to see the only time honored, sanctioned covenant given us by our Savior. We don’t really need to wait for man’s time to celebrate this. He said “Do this in remembrance of me.” He said this was a new covenant He gave to us. The covenant covered by His shed blood on the cross. His blood covered our sins, as the sacrificial animals of ancient Israel covered Israel’s sins. Yet we, to this day deny this covenant in our deeds and politically correct language of today. Even some of the Ash Wednesday celebrations in some denominations, began this year with mixing of glitter into the ashes meant to recognize homosexuality. Hard to believe isn’t it. Even this remembrance is desecrated with paganism.
Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of blessing ashes made from palm branches blessed on the previous year’s Palm Sunday, and placing them on the heads of participants to the accompaniment of the words “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return”.(Wikipedia )
So to see the mixing of pagan rituals taking colors of the rainbow (God’s promise to man) and desecrating even an event meant to honor the Savior is a shock. Glitter in the ashes??
If you fast, remember to not only fast from food, but from the world views. Turn away from the denial and betrayal’s of Christ prevalent in our world today.
Regardless the twisting of doctrine and the pagan rituals, we are entering into a Holy Time of Remembrance for our entire Gospel, eternity and Faith center around this time. The Death, and Resurrection of our Savior, Yeshua. Let us not forget this, our eternity depends on this. Thank you Father for the gift of your Son, may we always remember, and Praise you, may we always uphold the promises of this sacrifice and keep it Holy, untinged by the color and belief of the world, and the pagan beliefs of man. Let us always unite at this time as Jesus did with the disciples and look up to the Throne where our King resides. He lives!!! And He is returning!!