What is Ash Wednesday?

Lenten Series:
    1. What is Lent?
    2. Should Christians Celebrate Lent?
    3. Should I Give Something Up for Lent?
    4. What is Ash Wednesday?
    5. What is Maundy Thursday?
    6. What is Good Friday?
    7. What is Easter?

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. It is a day to focus on the holiness of God and our need for repentance from sin. In Biblical times it was common for the sinner to repent in sackcloth and ashes. Sackcloth was a symbol of humility before the Lord. The ashes are a reminder of man’s mortality. God pronounced his judgment upon man in the garden after he sinned — “You shall return to the ground from which you were taken, for dust you are, and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:19) Thus dust and ashes became a common element in public repentance. As Job said, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:5-6)

The ashes on the forehead in the sign of the cross are a double reminder. The ashes remind us of our mortality due to sin. The sign of the cross is a reminder that forgiveness comes only through Jesus Christ and his death for us. It is important to remember that the ashes are only a symbol. They are meaningless apart from a genuinely repentant faith in Jesus Christ. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).

2 Comments

  1. Ginny Allen says:

    Tomorrow is the day. Ash Wednesday.. Yes, repentance is very important. There will be many who will display ashes but not be repentant BUT this will be a great opportunity to speak of Jesus if we are in a personal relationship with Him.
    For me Lent is an opportunity to set myself and the world aside for a while. I will attempt to watch only Catholic or Christian tv and read only what will teach me more of Him. I will try to practice self denial and try to learn more about what He wants me to do to come closer to Him. I will only be able to do this with His grace. I hope that when I interact with others I will leave His fragrance behind and not mine. Once again I would want this to last throughout the year not just for Lent. It is supposed to take 40 days to change a habit. Lent is a greaat beginning.
    Whether I fast from food or tv or secular books, whatever I feel the Lord is calling me to let go of, I will have more time to spend with Him and His people.

  2. Ray Fowler says:

    Ginny – Thanks for sharing!

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