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On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal for you?” Matthew 26:17 (NLT)

Prepare:

To make ready beforehand for some purpose, use, or activity;

To put in a proper state of mind.

Have you ever considered the many ways that we prepare for something? Life throws a multitude of events in our lives that require preparation. Some preparation is enjoyable, even if stressful. For example, the preparing for the holidays is full of activity. There’s baking to be done, gifts to buy, holiday parties to plan, host or attend, family gatherings to travel to. Stressful? Certainly, but those are the things that memories are made of and the stress is forgotten long before the memories grow stale.

Other things of life may not be positive. Preparing for the funeral of a loved one is difficult at best. Making the arrangements; comforting those who have come to comfort you; reliving the many stories and memories; picking up the pieces left by the hole in your life all demand preparation in before life can return to normal. There is no time to prepare for these kinds of events.

Sometimes preparation can involve every kind of emotion thrown together into one huge melting pot. Life changes such as divorce can be the healthiest thing for you physically or emotionally even though it carries the pain that is very similar to the death of a spouse. Graduation forces you to look ahead to the next chapter of life with excitement, anticipation, fear, hope and virtually every other emotion known to mankind. Retirement can be exciting to look forward to, but many, upon reaching that time period are at a loss as to what to do to fill their time or feel value.

For the Jew, living in Jesus day, Passover was a mixed bag of emotion. On the one hand they celebrated the deliverance of God’s people from Egyptian slavery. They had been called to follow a leader who was a known failure; to pursue a promise that had been long forgotten; to heed the call of a God who had been silent for hundreds of years.

As a result they’d enjoyed miraculous miracles and political supremacy which brought peace and prosperity to the nation. Now, under Roman bondage, they looked forward to a new kingdom which they thought was a physical reinstatement of political prominence. Messiah, when he came would be cause for celebration once more.

Some church bodies spend the weeks leading up to Easter and the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection in a period of preparation called Lent. For some, this is a time of sacrifice, but Lent should be a time of celebration, not sacrifice, a time of celebration, not mourning. Jesus Christ came to sacrifice his body for us. Now, scripture tells us there is no more need for sacrifice; no more need for mourning.

With this in mind, let us approach this season with celebration. Rather than asking ourselves, “What can I give up for Lent”, let’s ask Jesus what more we can do for his kingdom. The work of the cross was final. Now it’s time to celebrate! Now it’s time to let the world know that when the Son sets us free, we are free indeed!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, as we begin the journey of remembrance of your sacrificial giving for us may we find new ways to serve you. Renew in us a new spiritual vigor to share the freedom we have in you with those in bondage. Thank you for setting us free! Amen.

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