How to Prepare Your Heart for Easter
Feast on Jesus this Lent with Behold and Believe, a 40 Day Study of the Life of Jesus
“Oh, wait, don’t eat that! You can’t eat it!”
It was during the season of Lent when my childhood friend Megan caught my hand just before I popped the peanut butter cup into my mouth. I half-heartedly thanked her for the reminder, and with reluctance, threw away the candy that seemed infinitely more appealing now that I couldn’t eat it. It wasn’t so much that I couldn’t eat it, but more that I was choosing not to.
If you had asked my ten-year-old self why I wasn’t eating one of my favorite treats, I would have told you that I gave up chocolate for Lent. But if you had asked me the reason I gave it up, I probably would have fumbled for an answer.
Now that I am a few decades older and hopefully a little wiser, I have a better understanding of the Lenten season and why Christians observe it. Lent takes place over the 40 days leading up to Easter, and is a period of turning our attention to the sufferings of Christ and reflecting on the sacrifice He made for our sin. People often commit to fasting or abstaining from certain things as a way of honoring Jesus’ sacrifice. Some fast from a particular food or from social media. It is a time of preparing our hearts both to remember Good Friday, when Jesus endured unspeakable agony on the cross, and also to celebrate the glorious resurrection of our Savior on Easter Sunday.
As the Lenten season approaches, many of us consider how we might turn our full attention to Jesus. Perhaps I’ll give up something for those 40 days. Buckle up, (peanut) buttercup! Actually, this year, I am thinking more about what I can take in. How can I spend quality time with Jesus, getting to know my Savior more deeply and personally?
What about you? Have you stopped to consider how you will prepare your heart for Easter this year? Instead of simply saying no to your favorite dessert, I want to challenge you to take the next 40 days to focus on knowing, loving, and following Jesus more.
Experience Jesus this Easter
If you are like me and want to truly experience Jesus at Easter this year, then I want to encourage you to take the next 40 days to walk through Behold and Believe, A Study of the Gospel of John, which is an in-depth journey through the life and ministry of Jesus. This study, written by Marian Jordan Ellis, examines the eye-witness account of John, one of Jesus’ closest friends and disciples. Not only do we behold Jesus’ ministry and miracles through the Gospel of John, but Marian unpacks the Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming Messiah and how Jesus fulfilled them. Day by day as you walk through Behold and Believe you will savor the richness of God’s Word and feast upon the glory of God.
Behold and Believe is A 40 day walk through the life, teachings, and miracles of Jesus that culminates with His death and resurrection. A great way to spend the 40 days of Lent in preparation for Easter.
- You’ll walk alongside Jesus and His disciples as He first begins His public ministry.
- You’ll watch in awe as He heals the sick and performs miracles.
- You’ll see His great compassion and love as you listen to His teachings.
- You’ll weep alongside His followers as He is hung on a cross.
- And you’ll burst with joy when the stone is rolled away on that third day!
- You’ll be in awe of the way God planned and orchestrated every detail, and how the Bible is one story of God’s love for humanity and His plan to rescue them.
- You’ll behold the Messiah, and believe that He is who He says He is. Your heart will be turned toward your Savior.
A family member recently told me that she has never really enjoyed doing Bible studies, but that she looks forward to sitting down with Behold and Believe each day. Another woman said she has been discipling a friend who is new to studying the Bible, and they are going through Behold and Believe. She says, “Marian’s humor and analogies, and the way she explains John’s intentional order of events have helped put the pieces of our Lord’s ministry together with ease. What joy it brings to see my friend nod with understanding!”
Behold and Believe is wonderful for large groups or small groups, or even to go through on your own. In addition to the rich teaching in the study book, each week has an accompanying video teaching by Marian that is available for free online.
There are lots of good devotionals out there for Lent, but I cannot recommend with enough enthusiasm that you do Behold and Believe. It transformed my faith because as I got to know Jesus better, I couldn’t help but love Him more.
Feast on Jesus this Lent
Truth be told, I often miss the whole season of Lent, and then all of a sudden Easter has come and gone. I’ve usually set out some cute baskets of treats for my kids and done a professional job of hiding eggs (I’m talking – find them in unexpected places the remainder of the year – professional!). I always enjoy the Easter service at church and worshiping our risen Lord. But I feel like I’m unprepared for it, and the moment passes me by. I’m often struck by the sense that I missed out on the weight of the holiday, and also on the magnitude of the resurrection. I don’t want to just observe what Jesus did in His life and death, I want to participate in it!
I know how I’m spending Lent this year. Want to join me?
Sarah Fredrick Thompson is a Staff Writer at This Redeemed Life Ministries
Sarah Thompson has a master’s degree in International Affairs from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M, and has worked in the fields of government, nonprofit, and women’s ministry. Wife to Austin and homeschool mom to Eleanor, Evan, and Annie, Sarah is soaking up the chaos and joy of raising three kids and cheering them on in all their activities. A perfect day would be spent in the mountains and involve hiking, reading, family and friends. She lives in San Antonio, Texas with her family and two dogs, Huckleberry and Gracie. Sarah is passionate about Truth and seeing people experience the joy that is found in a relationship with Jesus.