Today is Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of Lent. It seems for all it’s faults, flaws, and many unbiblical aspects the Roman Catholic liturgical impulse has one advantage over the complete indifference to such matters of of liturgy in popular evangelicalism. The advantage is that while most professing believers can go through the year(with the exception of Christmas and Easter) without really pondering the life of Christ, without considering the obedience of Christ which now stands as our righteousness those who hold to a liturgy are confronted with those realities whether they accept them or not.
Today many will begin their Lenten season committing to fast from many different things, in order to remember Christ’s temptation in the wilderness. It seems on the surface of it an exercise in missing the point. The point of the New Testament writers in recording the temptation of Christ is not to call us to make vows or to call us fast (fasting is a good thing but it’s not the point of Christ’s temptation). The point is that Christ is the new Adam, that where our first father Adam was tempted and fell Christ was tempted and crushed the head of the serpent.
Christ was not without a special kind of food in the wilderness. In John 4:34, Christ states that his food is to to do the will who sent him. In his temptation Christ responded to the temptation to turn stones to bread by quoting Scripture, and saying “Man shall not live by bread alone but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Where Adam and Eve doubted and disobeyed the word of God, Christ treasured, obeyed, and feasted upon the word of God. What if rather then merely fasting from some aspect of life we in the midst of our temptations treasured, obeyed, and feasted on God’s word? That would indeed bring about true change.
That we need liturgical calendars to remind us of Christ’s life and work is saddening because this is the lifeblood the very impetus of the Christian life. If we only reflect upon these great truths once a season we rob ourselves of a chance to be encouraged and strengthened by the reminder of what Christ has done for us.