Lent, the period just prior to Easter, is a time for self-examination, fasting and penance for some Christians denominations as well as for Catholics, in preparation for Easter. It is a reminder to us of the time that Jesus spent in the desert after his baptism, and his trials while there. In the desert, Jesus was tempted three times by Satan, but did not succumb to the temptations as Adam and Israel previously had done. Jesus thereby became an example for us both in his reception of baptism and in his denunciation of Satan. Matt Maher has used these narratives from the Bible as the source for his song 40 Days. As he usually does, Matt includes references to biblical texts as parts of the song lyrics. In addition, he includes doctrine from Catholic teachings, bringing an added depth to the meaning of the song. The first verse of the song is sung as though Matt is describing someone wandering in the desert, looking for the right path. While the lyrics themselves describe the trials that Jesus went through in preparation for his public ministry, they also describe the process we must go through to effectively prepare ourselves for Easter and the Resurrection of Christ. Thus, as we wander in our sinful state (as the Israelites wandered in the wilderness) we must eventually die to self (reject worldly temptations and give ourselves over to Christ: Rom 6:2-4), allowing us to grow stronger in faith. The lyrics “the jubilee is over” signify that we have been freed from our debt to sin by Jesus as the Israelites were freed from their debts in the jubilee year. Whereas for the Israelites the ending of the jubilee meant that life was allowed to go on and possibly return to more or less where it previously had been, those of us who have faith retain the grace God gave us in baptism and we remain freed from the shackles of sin. We have been saved by Jesus Christ who loved us so much that he died on the cross for us. The chorus brings more energy and joy to the song, as if the search has been successful and the right path has been found. Here, Matt sings of the victory that will be achieved on this journey. “In the desert of temptation” refers to our own trials in our deserts where we face these temptations and confront our sins. By facing and defeating these temptations, we pass through the storm of conversion and are washed clean. We are saved by Jesus, who is the living water (Jn 4:9-15, Jn 6:35). As Jesus was baptized in the Jordan; so too through our baptism do we receive God’s grace. In the second verse the music returns to the sense of a description of a journey, now focusing on self-examination. The lyrics suggest that we should be looking toward the termination of Lent and the victory of Easter, when Jesus became the Paschal sacrifice. Our time during Lent should be spent preparing ourselves to celebrate this great gift, by undertaking actions which will bring us closer to God. As Jesus died and was raised to new life, so too should we strive to rise to a new life in him. The Father will welcome us into his arms, as we prodigal children come home to him. Matt repeats the chorus, reminding us that we have to fight the temptations so that we can be truly converted, washed in the living waters and brought to a new life. His joyful chorus calls us to reach for the victory and promise given us by Jesus Christ. Originally posted on Christian Rock Musicality. If you like this post, please feel free to read about other songs on my website.