NORMAN — Why is the season of Lent 40 days long?
Consider various events in the Bible associated with the number 40. The Flood was 40 days and nights in length. Moses was on Mt. Sinai for 40 days to receive the 10 Commandments. Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. Jesus was tempted by the devil in the desert for 40 days. After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples over a period of 40 days.
Every time there is a period of 40 days, when those days are completed, God begins a whole new chapter for the people or person involved.
In Jesus’ case, after he was baptized and after the 40 day temptation by the devil in the desert, he then commenced his three year public ministry.
What was really happening? As the first Adam in the Garden of Eden fell prey to the three temptations of the devil, now the second Adam (Jesus) in the desert defeats the three temptations of the devil.
The devil tempted Adam and Eve to doubt God’s word and said, “Did God really say…?” They fell for this temptation and doubted God’s word. The devil tempted the second Adam Jesus by saying, “Didn’t God say the angels will bear you up… so throw yourself down from the temple…” Jesus did not fall for this temptation nor throw himself down.
The devil tempted Adam and Eve to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They gave in to the temptation and ate. The devil tempted the second Adam Jesus to turn stones into bread to eat. Jesus did not give in to this temptation and did not eat.
The devil tempted Adam and Eve to eat so they could be like God and becomes “gods” themselves. They ate and then realized their idolatry and guilt. The devil tempted the second Adam Jesus to bow down and worship Satan and become a “god” who would possess the kingdoms of this world. Jesus would not bow down in idolatry to Satan, since God was the only true possessor of all the world’s kingdoms.
Jesus defeated the devil’s temptation as True Man, quoting the written Word of God each time he opposed the devil. The second Adam did this in our place, he defeated the devil for all of us “fallen Adams.”
Thus we understand what the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 5:12,15,17, “12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man (Adam), and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned… 15… the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ (the second Adam) abounded for many… 17 For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.”
The 40 Days of Lent are all about that One Man, the second Adam, Jesus Christ.