I am the type of person who questions a lot of things. If I see something on social media (or any kind of media) I’m not sure of, I’ll fact check. The conspiracy theories out there really are quite disturbing. Word of advice, do not believe everything you read on social media or the internet. And when I am doing sermon prep, I want to make sure my information is from reliable sources. With the crucifixion on Good Friday, and then Easter Sunday with the Resurrection of Jesus behind me, I was reminded in my sermon preparation we are now in the period of what is known as the 40 Days of Easter. It comes on the heels of the season of Lent.
So what is the 40 Days of Easter and why 40 days? Well I got a little distracted (which I often do) and my mind ended up going down a rabbit trail regarding the number 40. The year I was born (1958) was 40 years after the end of the Great War or World War 1. When I was 40 years old (25 years ago) I started a different career. Does life really begin at 40? In the previous 20+ years I had been working seasonal employment. Mostly in water well drilling. With my wife a stay-at-home mom and expecting our 4th child it was such an enormous weight on my shoulder to make ends meet. I really needed to find year round work.
Starting afresh in the stage of what the American Institute of Learning and Human Development describes as “Midlife” was very scary. And I ended up getting a factory job. And boy the shift work was a killer. Called the MAD shift, one week of days, one week of afternoons and one week of nights. Then back all over again. It was like my body was in constant jet lag. I just couldn’t sleep. My wife often threatened to hit me over the head with a two-by-four to put me out. I’d be lucky to get 40 winks, which Dr. William Kitchiner describes as a short nap. It is also worth noting that the standard workweek is 40 hours.
Here in Canada we use Celsius for temperature. In the United States it is Fahrenheit. At -40 the two temperatures are exactly the same. A typical pregnancy I learned lasts 40 weeks, which is more accurate than nine months. There are 40 spaces on a standard monopoly board. Something I just learned is that chemical concoction I use to silence squeaky hinges took forty attempts to perfect it. It is known as WD-40 (full name: Water Displacement, 40th formula). A great lesson to not give up after the 1st or 2nd attempts in whatever we try in life.
Going back in time to the middle ages in the 14th century the Bubonic Plague was gripping Europe. The plague wiped out roughly half of Europe’s population. Ships would be isolated in harbor for 40 days before passengers could go ashore. I learned The Italian word for 40 is quarant, which means quarantine. Going back even further to Biblical times, the number 40 appears numerous times. Forty is a significant number in the Bible.
The great flood of Genesis was the result of 40 days of rain (Genesis 7:4). . Moses was with God for 40 days receiving the Law (Exodus 24:18). The Jews wandered in the desert for 40 years (Numbers 32:13). Jonah warned of judgment in 40 days (Jonah 3:4). And Jesus was tempted for 40 days as He began His ministry (Luke 4:2). At Easter we concluded our 40 day Lent journey. It started on Ash Wednesday and concluded with Maude Thursday (the day before Good Friday). So getting back to my original question, the 40 Days of Easter begins on Holy Saturday (the day before the Resurrection) and goes right until Ascension Day when Jesus returned to heaven. It is a period of 40 days.
Jesus didn’t return to heaven immediately after His resurrection. So what did He do in His last 40 days on earth? Well Jesus continued to teach God’s Word, giving further instructions particularly to His chosen apostles. A lot of changes were to take place. Jesus was going to leave this planet earth. But He was going to provide the Holy Spirit. The other thing Jesus did was to appear to others many times to prove that He was alive. In 1 Corinthians 15:5-8, Paul mentions one of those appearances was to more than 500 people. Jesus really wanted to prepare His followers for what lay ahead. Just as Jesus prepared for His ministry for 40 days (Luke 4:2), so for 40 days the risen Jesus prepared His followers for theirs. He wanted His disciples to tell people everywhere about Him. An important lesson for me to be prepared for all that comes our way. No matter what stage we are in life. God, through His Holy Spirit will equip us in every situation.
3 thoughts on “40”
What a beautiful message Carl! And educational too, thanks for sharing.
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Thank you for taking the time to read, Tricia. And for such kind words. Have a tremendous weekend! ☺️
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You too Carl!