40. it's a significant number throughout the bible.
the great flood lasted 40 days/nights.
Moses was on the Mt. Sinai in the presence of God for 40 days/nights.
Elijah spent 40 days fleeing from Ahab, but found God in the process.
Jonah preached in Nineveh, within 40 days the people repented; Jonah lamented.
Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness alone and was tempted.
After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples over a period of 40 days.
40. it's also the number of days (not counting Sundays) for which we celebrate the season of lent.
Ash Wednesday was yesterday and the lenten season has now begun a new... this time symbolizes where we 'roughly bump up against our own mortality.' (Rueben Job) This parallels Jesus' time in the desert where he fasted and was hungry and was then tempted by the evil one. This test of Jesus' humanity is essential for us who are/were/will be saved through his sacrifice on the cross. He had to be fully human and yet fully God for us to fully connect the dots between his pain and suffering and our sinful nature (and thus - a need to be saved from it)
for 40 days in the desert, Jesus sacrificed - so that he would be prepared for what was to come. the 40 days of Lent is our time to connect with that sacrifice. (Matt. 4:1-11)
Some choose to give up something of worth over this time while others may choose to add something to their life during this period leading up to Holy week. Whatever you choose to do - may it bring you a deeper understanding of God's love for us all - through the eventual sacrifice of His son Jesus - so that we may experience life to the full. (John 10:10)
Si Smith has created a series of illustrations (as well as a short movie available for download at Proost) simply titled 40. the drawings depict the 40 days Christ spent in the desert alone. mayBE has posted the entire series. Check it out. Day one shows Jesus closing up his carpenter shop and preparing for the journey ahead.
[view Day 1 illustration]
Jesus... standing there giving up the life he had known for 30 years... walking away into the desert... about to embark on the toughest challenge his life had yet to face.... giving up his livelihood, so that all may have the potential to experience true love, compassion, healing, restoration and wholeness.
and so it begins.
note: it is my goal to post regularly about this lenten season. i plan on reflecting about Jesus and his time in the desert. I am also using A Guide To Prayer for All Who Seek God as a soft guide during this time. We'll see what insights are gained as a result.
for insights gathered during the Lenten season 2 years ago, check out Lenten Hobo.