Today I went to the oldest known man-made structure in the history of the world (the tower dates back to 8000 BC!).  It is located in Jericho, an oasis in the middle of the desert.  There’s a spring there that provides water, and it’s very green (in complete contrast to the surrounding area).  A lot of things happened with the prophets Elijah and Elisha in Jericho (the whole ‘falling of the mantle’ thing, as well as Elisha healing the oasis spring—the entire place would have died without that miracle, as well as the crumbling of the walls of Jericho).  While in Jericho, (besides enduring the intense, oppressive, so-sticky-you-feel-like-you-are-swimming heat) I tried some of the local orange juice, hiked up to a Greek Orthodox monastery built into the side of a cliff which commemorated Jesus’ fasting for 40 days in the wilderness as well as his resisting of the devil’s three temptations (See Matthew 4:8-10).   
It was really humbling to see such a desolate place and imagine our Savior in that environment, all alone, having just realized the full enormity of his calling and responsibility, and imagining what He must have been thinking and praying about during that time.  Of course I don’t know, but I kinda feel like my Savior was feeling something that I struggle with so often: inadequacy.  As Elder Talmage comments, “His acknowledgment by the Father [at His baptism], and the continued companionship of the Holy Ghost, opened His soul to the glorious fact of His divinity. He had much to think about, much that demanded prayer and the communion with God that prayer alone could insure” (Jesus the Christ, 120).  I imagine Him saying to Himself: I am the chosen Messiah?  I am to preach a complete restoration of the Gospel to these people—to the entire world?  Am I really to suffer the sins of all mankind—of the history and future of the world?  How…How, Father, how is it possible?  Though I know it is possible, can I really drink this cup?  I imagine that, at the beginning of His fast, that He would “shrink” or even “feel sick” at the mere thought.  This perspective, for me, gives a whole new dimension of meaning to Alma 7:11-12.  Yet he went into  the wilderness immediately (Mark 1:12-13) to grapple with the profundity of what lay before Him, until He could say that He felt right about the mission before Him and He was invested in it with all His heart, might, mind, and strength.  What comfort this gives to me!  Our Savior, the Greatest of all, needed words of confirmation and assurance, just like I do.  Additionally, I really doubt that even after his fasting and prayer, that He was given the answer as to exactly how He would accomplish the task.  He had to struggle with the “how” just as much as I do when faced with uncertainty.  Yet I know that just as it happened for Him in His life, that everything will work out.  He accomplished what He needed to, and so can I, if my heart is right and my faith and determination are true.
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Overlooking the Judean Wilderness
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Me at Jerico
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This is the picture of our group at the Quruntul monastery, which is

4 Responses

  1. I’m so glad that I can live this experience vicariously through a cool person. These are great posts, Kendel, and I learn quite a bit from them–thanks.

  2. Kendel, this experience is amazing! How cool! So jealous….. i’m super glad you’re having such a good time.

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