Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here
Start your mornings with the good, the beautiful, the true... Subscribe to Aleteia's free newsletter!
Sign me up!

Not Prepared to Donate?

Here are 5 ways you can still help Aleteia:

  1. Pray for our team and the success of our mission
  2. Talk about Aleteia in your parish
  3. Share Aleteia content with friends and family
  4. Turn off your ad blockers when you visit
  5. Subscribe to our free newsletter and read us daily
Thank you!
Team Aleteia

Subscribe

Aleteia

Where did Jesus fast for 40 days?

MOUNT OF TEMPTATION
Share

And how the possible location can inspire our experience of Lent.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is baptized by St. John the Baptist in the Jordan river and then “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1).

Both the Gospels of Mark and Luke have a similar narrative, placing Jesus at the Jordan River immediately before his temptation in the wilderness. While Christian tradition often describes Jesus’ temptation as occurring in a “desert,” the Greek word used (eremos) primarily means a location that is isolated, uninhabited and unfit for pasture.

The Gospels never mention a specific place, but local tradition claims Jesus spent his days on a mountain near the Jordan River, currently called the “Mountain of Temptation.” It is a mountain of sheer rock and would have been difficult to ascend. It is a place where no one lives or travels through, and would have offered Jesus a solitary place completely cut off from the world around him.

There are many caves in this mountain, and in the first few centuries after Jesus’ death, Christian monks and hermits took up residence in the caves, devoting themselves to lives of solitary prayer. Eventually a monastery was built there, and over the years different monastic communities have lived on the mountain they believe was the place of Jesus’ temptation.

While it’s unknown if this location was the exact place where Jesus spent his days of fasting, it is certainly potentially the site, and Christians have held for centuries that this was the place where Jesus was led into the “wilderness.”

The isolation of this mountain reminds us to find our own “wilderness” during Lent and spend time each day away from everyone, contemplating God and his mysterious plan. For some of us this might be an actual place in the “wilderness” around us, away from the business of modern life. For others this might simply mean going to your bedroom and turning off all of your electronics, spending time in the silence and isolation.

Wherever your “wilderness” might be, let us be inspired by Jesus’ actions and take time away from the world to refresh our souls.

 

Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.
Aleteia offers you this space to comment on articles. This space should always reflect Aleteia values.
[See Comment Policy]
Readers like you contribute to Aleteia's Mission.

Since our inception in 2012, Aleteia’s readership has grown rapidly worldwide. Our team is committed to a mission of providing articles that enrich, inspire and inform a Catholic life. That's why we want our articles to be freely accessible to everyone, but we need your help to do that. Quality journalism has a cost (more than selling ads on Aleteia can cover). That's why readers like you make a major difference by donating as little as $3 a month.