Tomorrow, we will see people walking around with this weird grey looking cross on their foreheads. Some dont know what or why they do this. But most of us know what day it is, Ash Wednesday! There is one question I have, is this practice biblical or just man’s tradition?
The easy straight to the point answer is, No, this isn’t biblical! So lets see why.
So what is Ash Wednesday and Lent? Ash Wednesday is done the day before Lent starts. People celebrate Ash Wednesday by going to church and having the priest or pastor place an ash shaped cross on their forehead. This has been described as a time to “clean your souls before Lent.” Lent is a 40 day (not including sundays for some. 46 days for others), where one fast from something for 40 days until Easter. This comes from Jesus fasting for 40 days before going to the cross. Ash Wednesday and Lent are mainly celebrated by Catholics. However, many Non-dominations and other churches in the Christian faith have picked this practice up and have started to do it.
Where in the Bible does it say we should do this? Well, it doesn’t. Actually, they have chosen to pick and choose from different bible verses to support their idea of Ash wednesday and Lent. The first one they use and normally say to you as they place the ash on your forehead is pulled from Genesis 3:19 KJV, “ for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Does this mean we walk around with Ash on our head in the shape of the cross? No. Some of the other bible verses they will use to justify this practice are, 2 Samuel 13:19, Esther 4:1, Job 2:8, Daniel 9:3. But if we use these verses as the reasoning for putting ash on our foreheads, like Esther for example, shouldn’t we also use dung like Esther did? But I don’t see people doing that. So, it seems they have pulled small pieces from the bible to fit and make people partake in Ash Wednesday and Lent. One verse used for celebrating Lent is Luke 5:33-35. But, anyone can read this and see it is used out of context. The verse is actually Jesus answering the Pharisee as to why his disciples don’t fast while others were. And to paraphrase, Jesus tells them there is no pointing to them fasting while he is there and they are also too fast after he dies because he won’t be there. This does not tell us to fast for 40 days before Easter.
Here are my thoughts on Ash Wednesday and Lent now that I have shown biblically we are not called to put an ash cross on our foreheads, nor fast from something for 40 days. It is yet again, another man made tradition. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever for christians to be practicing Lent and ash Wednesday. None. Lets not forget that Ash wednesday follows Fat Tuesday. A day where people like to binge in all sorts of sins before having to “clean their souls’ on ash Wednesday. Most people join in on this practice because those around them are doing it and because it makes them feel good as a person that they can “rid themselves of all their sins that have commited, get a start fresh and make it right with God” They give up trivial things in their life that doesn’t bring hardship or a struggle to where they have to lean on God. Nothing that brings them to their knees in prayer. Nothing. Then the church and the people take pictures and post about it all over social media.
Are we too fast? Yes. If you want to fast as Jesus did, you can. Fasting is something we see many times in the Bible for many different reasons. But we are warned and told by Jesus in Matthew 6:16-18 kjv how we should fast “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men too fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men too fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”
We are also told in Matthew 6:5-8kjv by Jesus how we are to pray “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”
We can look in the Bible and see no one fasted for 40 days before Easter. Nor do we see them get ash crosses on their heads as a sign of cleansing and and “getting right with God.” We shouldn’t wait for a certain time of year to fast, repent and pray. We should be repenting everyday and if we are to fast, do so in private without the whole world knowing what you are doing and the same goes with prayer. Shame on the churches for adapting a ritual that isn’t biblical at all and bringing it into the churches. All while having your members telling everyone what they are doing. Having a big ash cross on your forehead is definitely a Pharisee type of thing to do. You are showing everyone you practiced in Ash Wednesday and you’re probably going to participate in lent. Both go against scripture and what Jesus told us how we should handle those two things. And I choose to do what the Lord tells me in the Bible to do. Not a priest or preacher who tells me otherwise. So before you join in on the man made tradition, ask yourself if you want to do something that isn’t actually biblical. And if it isn’t biblical, why are you doing it?