February 18, 2015 is the beginning of Lent for Christians, the 40 days of reflection before Easter and the resurrection of Jesus. But what does the Bible say about it?
While Lent is not officially in the Bible, it draws its inspiration from the many of passages about sacrifice, reflection, and fasting in both the Old and New Testaments: Moses leading the Israelites through the desert for 40 days having God provide for them, Jesus wandering through the desert, etc.
Christians everywhere recognize Lent as a period of rebirth. Here are some Bible verses about rebirth for inspiration.
1. “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.” – Joel 2:12-2:13 ESV
2. “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple…” – Matthew 4:1-25 ESV
3. “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” – Isaiah 58:6-7
4. “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” – Genesis 3:19 ESV
5. “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” – Isaiah 43:25 ESV
6. “For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” – 2 Corinthians 6:2 EDV
7. “But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die.” – Ezekiel 18:21 ESV
8. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – John 1:1 ESV
9. “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.” – 1 Corinthians 10:23 ESV
10. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” – John 3:16-3:19 ESV