3 Nephi, Chapter 17

Ponder and pray

There have been times in school, when I have struggled to understand what was being taught.  Sometimes the problem has been with the teacher not being clear in their instruction, but usually it is because I have not been prepared to learn the new material.  In order to understand, I have read the manuals, reviewed my notes, and prepared questions for the next class.  I think a lot of understanding comes from being prepared for being taught.

“Behold, now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he looked round about again on the multitude, and he said unto them: Behold, my time is at hand (v. 1).  I perceive that ye are weak, that ye cannot understand all my words which I am commanded of the Father to speak unto you at this time (v. 2).”  The Nephites were not able to understand, because they were weak.  The problem was with the learners, not with the teacher.  Heavenly Father wanted them to understand and know all the things which the Savior had just taught the people, but they did not understand all of it.

“Therefore, go ye unto your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand, and prepare your minds for the morrow, and I come unto you again (v. 3).”  The Savior told them to ponder, pray and prepare their minds, so that they might understand His words.  He told them to go to their homes to prepare.  Our homes should be a quiet, reverent place where we can also prepared to gain understanding of the gospel.  He also told them to ponder over what he had taught them.  Pondering is meditating or thinking with the intention to learn and understand.  If they would ponder on these things, they would be able to understand more when He visited with them again.  When we pray, we should ponder over the things which we will say to our Father in Heaven, and then continue to ponder so that we can receive the answer.  Pondering invites the spirit, as we focus our attention on conversing with the Lord.

How lost are the lost tribes?

A while back, I lost one of my daughters most loved toys at a store.  I searched all over for it and even asked for assistance from the customer service.  I gave my information to the lost and found desk, but it was never returned.  The item had become a collector’s item and it apparently was taken home by someone else in a matter of minutes from when it was lost.  She was heart broken and I was throughly upset with myself over it.  I have not forgotten about it, even though it has been over a year since it was lost.  Some things are easily lost, but not easily forgotten.

“But now I go unto the Father, and also to show myself unto the lost tribes of Israel, for they are not lost unto the Father, for he knoweth whither he hath taken them (v. 4).”  The Savior said he was going to the Father and to the lost tribes of Israel.  We know them as the lost tribes, but they are not lost by Heavenly Father.  They are lost to man, but Heavenly Father knows where all things (and therefore, people) are.  Every person who has ever lived, is living, or will live, is known by our Father in Heaven and he accounts for us all.

I am sure that with the lost tribes are records of their people, just as we have a record of the Nephites and Lamanites.  Perhaps they have an abridged record as well, which could be called the Book of the Lost Tribes.  I am sure that someday, when all is revealed, and the tribes are all gathered together again, we will find their records just as wonderful as the Book of Mormon is for us.

Why did Jesus heal the sick?

“And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus spoken, he cast his eyes round about again on the multitude, and beheld they were in tears, and did look steadfastly upon him as if they would ask him to tarry a little longer with them (v. 5).  And he said unto them: Behold, my bowels are filled with compassion towards you (v. 6).”  The people wanted Jesus to stay with them, but they did not say it out loud.  He responded to their unspoken desires with compassion.  The Savior truly knows how we feel and he will always have compassion towards us.

The Savior felt compassion towards the Nephites and then showed His compassion for them through his actions.  “Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy (v. 7).  For I perceive that ye desire that I should show unto you what I have done unto your brethren at Jerusalem, for I see that your faith is sufficient that I should heal you (v. 8 ).  And it came to pass that when he had thus spoken, all the multitude, with one accord, did go forth with their sick and their afflicted, and their lame, and with their blind, and with their dumb, and with all them that were afflicted in any manner; and he did heal them every one as they were brought forth unto him (v. 9).  And they did all, both they who had been healed and they who were whole, bow down at his feet, and did worship him; and as many as could come for the multitude did kiss his feet, insomuch that they did bathe his feet with their tears (v. 10).”

The Savior blessed and healed all those who were sick or afflicted because they had faith in Him.  They thanked him by worshipping him and kissing his feet.  I am sure that if anyone came to the Savior with the same amount of faith in Him, that he would heal them.  I would hope that I would show this same faith in this situation.

Jesus blesses the little children

“And it came to pass that he commanded that their little children should be brought (v. 11).  So they brought their little children and set them down upon the ground round about him, and Jesus stood in the midst; and the multitude gave way till they had all been brought unto him (v. 12).”  All of their little children were brought before Jesus.

“And it came to pass that when they had all been brought, and Jesus stood in the midst, he commanded the multitude that they should kneel down upon the ground (v. 13).  And it came to pass that when they had knelt upon the ground, Jesus groaned within himself, and said: Father, I am troubled because of the wickedness of the people of the house of Israel (v. 14).”  The Savior groaned because he knew of the wickedness of the people.

“And when he had said these words, he himself also knelt upon the earth; and behold he prayed unto the Father, and the things which he prayed cannot be written, and the multitude did bear record who heard him (v. 15).  And after this manner do they bear record: The eye hath never seen, neither hath the ear heard, before, so great and marvelous things as we saw and heard Jesus speak unto the Father (v. 16); And no tongue can speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak; and no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father (v. 17).  And it came to pass that when Jesus had made an end of praying unto the Father, he arose; but so great was the joy of the multitude that they were overcome (v. 18 ).”  The Savior prayed to God for the Nephites and they were filled with great joy.  I cannot even begin to imagine things so great and marvelous that they could not be written.

“And it came to pass that Jesus spake unto them, and bade them arise (v. 19).  And they arose from the earth, and he said unto them: Blessed are ye because of your faith. And now behold, my joy is full (v. 20).”  I think it is important to realize that although the Savior knew of their sins and the wickedness that had been among them, it did not stop them from being blessed for their faith in Him.  This gives me a sense of hope.  I am not anywhere near perfect.  I am trying to do my best, but I fail at coming near to perfection (as we all do).  I know, however, that my faith is stronger then it has been before and I know through this example, that the Savior will bless me for my faithfulness, even when I fall extremely short of perfection.

“And when he had said these words, he wept, and the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them (v. 21).”  What an awesome experience.  I think of my own children and what it would mean to them (my 6 year old in particular) to have a personal blessing by the Savior.  Then I think of how I would feel watching my children be blessed and I know that I would have been overcome with joy and so grateful for the awesome experience.  I am sure that everyone cried who witnessed it.  I am so grateful to know that the Savior knows me and my family personally and that he has compassion and love for us and wants to bless us individually with the things that we need.

Angels minister in circles of fire

“And when he had done this he wept again (v. 22); And he spake unto the multitude, and said unto them: Behold your little ones (v. 23).  And as they looked to behold they cast their eyes towards heaven, and they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were in the midst of fire; and they came down and encircled those little ones about, and they were encircled about with fire; and the angels did minister unto them (v. 24).  And the multitude did see and hear and bear record; and they know that their record is true for they all of them did see and hear, every man for himself; and they were in number about two thousand and five hundred souls; and they did consist of men, women, and children (v. 25).”

What a blessing it must have been to be one of the children who were encircled by fire and had angles minister to them.  We may not have literal angels minister unto each of us, but we do have others who act as angels ministering to us.  We have our bishops, visiting and home teachers, other local church leaders, family members and many more good people who act as our ministering angels.  One who minsters, attends to the wants and needs of another.  When we teach others the gospel or provide service for them, we are ministering unto them.  As we stay in tune with the spirit, we will be lead to those who need us.  We are greatly blessed when we act as angels on earth and minister to those around us.

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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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