Mark 1:13 “And Jesus was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.”
The 40 days of Lent mimic the 40 days which Jesus experienced in the wilderness, before His ministry commenced. The similarities are significant.
In the Bible, the wilderness was often the place where people encountered God most profoundly. Consider Moses and the burning bush; Israel and Mt Sinai; even the Apostle Paul and Arabia (Galatians 1:17ff.) When we strip away all the trappings and all the distractions, what’s left? An opportunity to encounter Christ in a richer, deeper way. Fasting can produce a wilderness environment for us.
The 40 days themselves represent the number of testing. You’ll recall the Great Flood for 40 days and 40 nights; Moses in the wilderness for 40 years; the spies in Canaan for 40 days; Israel in the wilderness for 40 years; and other references. The 40 days of Lent are not a pop-quiz but a serious exam.
The experience of Christ was also marked by wild beasts AND angels. I love that–especially the angels! While I imagine Jesus faced literal beasts (jackals, bears, and lions), you’ll find that a fast draws our inner beasts to the surface. A little inconvenience, a little hardship, a little subjugation of the will makes all the beasts of the flesh roar with unhappiness. Brace yourself. 🙂
But the angels of God also come and minister. We tend to talk more about the Presence of the Holy Spirit than the ministry of God’s angels. Both are true and real. The writer to the Hebrews reminds us that angels are “ministering spirits, sent out to render service to us.” (Hebrews 1:14) It’s a marvelous picture. We have support–real, tangible, ministering support–from the angels of God, during seasons like this.
It’s Day 2. Perhaps you’ve only heard a coyote in the distance. Know that when the bear roars nearby in the days ahead, the messengers of Christ (His angels) stand with you. Lean on them. Who knows? Perhaps this season will prepare you for a new ministry.