In the midst of a Judean desert, after a long journey through Jericho, I reached a stretch of hills. This is commonly referred to as, “ The mountain of Temptation” and also known as Mount Quarnatani and Jabel Quruntul, derived from the Latin word for forty. I expected to see a tall mountain whose peak I wouldn’t be able to view from the ground; but instead what stood before me was a small series of hills. A lone cable car took me to the top of the hill for a view of Jordan.
The feeling of being in the middle of nowhere rattled me, however I mustered up courage and walked around the hill. Although it was the month of January, the heat was intense. I was told that it gets worse in the following months. I had read that the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness was during the months of August – September. The heat however wasn’t an obstacle as I stood there to feel what my Lord felt and to breathe the air that sustained Him during His 40 days there.
The Gospels speak of a time of solitude for Jesus in the desert immediately after his baptism.
Driven by the Spirit into the desert, Jesus remained there for forty days without eating. At the end of this time, Satan tempted him three times, seeking to compromise his filial attitude towards God. Jesus rebuffed these attacks and the devil left him “until an opportune time” (Lk. 4:13) [CCC 538].
I think of my life and the moments of loneliness, sadness, depression, anxiety or worry that I often go through. It pains me to think that Jesus knows what I will go through, how I will succumb to temptation and how I will allow the temptation to lead me into sin and YET He loves me. He stands by me in my most difficult hour. I trust the words He speaks because I know that He has gone through every temptation and emerged victorious.
Just like His death on the cross for the sins of all mankind, Christ feels all my human struggles. The words of Isaiah 40:3 ring true ~
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord! Make his paths straight!'”
I hear this cry deep in my being and it pierces through my soul. How much do I want to do away with my sins and dedicate my life to Jesus?
I pray that just like sin had no power over Jesus, it would have no power over me too.
the one who is in me is greater than the one who is in the world. ~ 1 John 4:4