Some of you may have heard of the word, 'Lent'. It's one of those words that people in churches use. But what does it mean? Well, for most Christians, Lent is a time when they remember a time when Jesus went out into the wilderness for 40 Days, where he was tempted by the devil. It's also to remember the story of Easter and what Jesus did on the Cross. Some Catholic Christians also remember the time that Jesus spent in the tomb after he died.
Video Clip (for use if you can use it)
Myfishbites has put together a video clip of Matthew 21.1-17. This is the Bible read over the top of visual images, with music and sound FX added. Please note the audio and score is all original and copyright to myfishbites. However, the images are from the internet. If any of the images used are yours, copyright to you and you are able to prove this, don't hesitate to contact us and we will amend as requested.
Giving Up For Lent
You may have heard of people giving up something for Lent. This is because when Jesus went out into the wilderness, he went without food for 40 days. Why did he do this? Well, he was showing his commitment to God. It may seem strange, but many people give up things and do strange things in order to show dedication or to achieve something.
Think about what things people give up in different areas of life:
- a boxer gives up certain foods in order to achieve the right weight
- an athlete goes on controlled diets and does certain exercises & races for months - sometimes leading up to just one race such as the Olympics (that may be up to 4 years away!)
- a footballer spends day and night training to be the best (like David Beckham, often the first in and last out from practice)
- a cook spends hours learning how to perfect a meal
- an actor spends hours learning lines, movements, how to play the part perfectly so they can win respect or even an Oscar
- a band practices their songs day in day out, so they can play an amazing gig, maybe be signed and be famous
- a model chooses carefully what she eats, wears and does her make-up carefully, so that she looks the part on the catwalk
We've all given up something in order to achieve something else that we think is worthwhile.
But Jesus did this because he was the Son of God and was saying, 'I'm committed to the work of God - a work I think is so much more important than anything else."
So what do some Christians give up for Lent?
(Remember that Christians don't do Lent because they have to! Christians believe they have been changed inside by God - so what Christians do is motivated by their love for God, and not by religion or rules. Not every Christian gives up things for Lent).
You can ask for ideas if you think it's appropriate!
- Junk food
- Some people even give up eating completely for a time
- One girl on a train was overheard to say that she was giving up 'staying in' for Lent!
(You could read this out using 3 people - one being the narrator, one being Jesus and one being the devil)
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.' "
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: " 'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.' " Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' "
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.' "
Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
Lent is also about Easter and thinking about what Jesus did, when he died on the Cross. Christians believe that Jesus did this to restore man's relationship with God. What Jesus did when he died was to take all the bad stuff in the world on himself, so that all the bad stuff would also be dead. But, to get right with God, Christians believe that you have to make Jesus number one in your life and to ask him to change your heart.
Christians believe that what Jesus did is to build a bridge between humankind and God - but you have to choose to use the bridge.
You may not believe in Lent - but maybe there are things in your life that you need to stop doing. Maybe this is a time when you can use money that you would normally get - to do good, such as sponsoring a child in another country through World Vision. Or maybe you should be challenged by what Jesus did on the Cross and consider whether you need to get right with God.