Luke 18:9-14 – “To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable.”
And with those words we begin the season of Lent: Forty days of preparation before Easter. It begins with this passage in Luke and its accompanying challenge. Jesus is speaking to the holy ones of his day, the righteous, the religious. He is speaking to those who were proud of their faith, even to a point of fault. He was addressing those who thought much of themselves and very little of others. In their own minds they were the superior, they were the faithful, they were the chosen.
Jesus’ words to the righteous do not question actions, they assesses attitude. They scrutinize motive. They evaluate sincerity of faith. Jesus told parables with the sole intent of confronting the listener with the truth. Jesus calls those who hear to assess their hearts. He calls us to live honestly. He asks us to live humbly. Is there a better way to begin the season of Lent?
Throughout the history of the Christian Church, followers of Christ have used the 40 weekdays leading up to Easter as a time of focus, sacrifice, and renewal. These days have provided the faithful an opportunity to evaluate the depth of their faith and to re-commit to the journey to the cross.
For some, this has included fasting and prayer. As a child, I remember giving up chocolate or candy. In college, I gave up cola. But the sacrifice is meaningless if it doesn’t come from a place of truth and humility.
I invite you along on the Journey of Lent. Along the way, we will encounter people who are touched by Jesus. Some experience healing, some realize cleansing, others find forgiveness. All are changed. Forever.