Today’s theme song is the hymn 40 Days by Matt Maher. It's a beautiful and inspiring song about Jesus’ time in the desert. Right after John, Jesus’ cousin, baptizes him the Holy Spirit leads him into the wilderness, “to be tempted by the devil. And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry. And the tempter came....Matthew 4:2-3” Matthew has one of the longer versions of Jesus’ temptation in the desert. It goes into detail about how the devil tempted him and with what he was tempted.
So why did Jesus have to go to the desert? It seems kinda counterintuitive at first. Jesus is about to start his public ministry and then he goes to the last place where people would be! However, God does not think as we do. The Holy Spirit led him into the desert to be strengthened for the coming years of ministry
Matthew 4:1 “Cause in the desert of temptation lies the storm of true
conversion where springs of living water drown and refresh you. And as the
Jordan pours out change your true self is all that remains where springs of living
water bind and break you. Bind and break you” 40 Days
In the Ignatius Study Bible commentary we read about the similarities between Jesus going into the desert and the old testament Israel going into the desert.
“Matthew’s temptation narrative recounts Jesus’ spiritual preparation for ministry. The event contrasts the disobedience of ancient Israel with the obedience of Jesus, representative of the new Israel: Israel and Jesus are both called God’s son Matthew 3:17 Exodus 4:22 the temptations of both Israel and Jesus are preceded by a baptism Exodus 3:13-17 1 Corinthians 10:1-5 Israel was tested for forty years, Jesus is tempted for forty days and forty nights Matthew 4:2 Exodus 4 Israel failed its wilderness testing, while Jesus triumphs over Satan through obedience....”
Wow! The Old Testament and New Testament line up beautifully here. We see Jesus being strong where Israel failed and making all things NEW. Thank you Jesus.
So how does this connect to Matt Maher’s song? In 40 days we hear Matt singing,
“Forty days to wander; forty days to die to self.”
During Lent we are called to deny ourselves of our usual comforts. We can mortify ourselves and offer up these comforts in order to be closer to Jesus. This is how we can love him better.
“Forty days to grow stronger as faith breaks open the gates of hell. The jubilee is over but grace is far from gone. In the hearts of the faithful broken on the wheels of love” 40 Days. Jesus gives us this time every year to strengthen ourselves in the desert as he did in order to live out the greatness he calls us to.
We shouldn’t take this time lightly. Let’s make this Lent count ladies! Let’s allow this Lent to change us. Jesus’ passion calls us to new life. I pray we have the docility and courage to accept this great gift. God bless you sister.
Dear Jesus You go to die For very love of me; Let me bear you company; I wish to die with You. -Saint Alphonsus Liguori
40 Days sung by Shepherds Daughters