3 Nephi 17 Still “Day One”
The record infers that chapter 17 is still “Day One” of Jesus’s visit among the Nephites. This first day is recounted in 3 Nephi 11:3 through 18:39; while “Day Two” goes from 19:15 through somewhere in chapter 26 (perhaps verse 5 or verse 15); and “Day Three” appears to be 26:15 through 28:15. Mormon informs us: “The Lord truly did teach the people for the space of three days; and after that he did show himself unto them oft, and did break bread oft, and bless it, and give it unto them” (3 Nephi 26:13).
3 Nephi 17:1-25 “My Bowels Are Filled With Compassion Towards You”
After His teachings in chapter 16, Jesus clearly stated His intent to leave, telling the people, “Ye are weak, that ye cannot understand all my words” (17:2). Then in verse 3 He gave them three instructions that can help us to receive and understand the Lord’s teachings:
- “Go ye unto your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said”
- “Ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand”
- “Prepare your minds for the morrow, and I come unto you again”
But the people powerfully communicated to Jesus their desire that He stay: “They were in tears, and did look steadfastly upon him as if they would ask him to tarry a little longer with them” (verse 5). He did tarry, and what followed is one of our most surpassingly powerful and spiritual accounts. Take some quiet time to carefully read and ponder verses 6-24, imagining yourself in this story:
- What things did Jesus say and do that impress you most?
- What do you learn about the Savior’s desires, His character, and His love?
- What do you learn about ministering to those who are “weak” and who “cannot understand” (verse 2).
- In what ways has Jesus healed you or your loved ones? (see verses 7-10).
- What do you learn from His interaction with the little children? (verses 11-16, 21-24).
- Consider the “joy” that you have experienced because of the Savior’s influence in your life (see verse 17).
This transcendent experience may have been missed had the people not expressed to Jesus—with their eyes and with their hearts—their desire for Him to stay. He then showed them that He can heal anyone, regardless of their condition, if their “faith is sufficient” (verse 8).
3 Nephi 18:1-12, 25-29 How Jesus Feels About Our Partaking of the Sacrament
To end His first day among the Nephites, Jesus initiated the sacrament, just as He had done among His disciples in Jerusalem. What do you see in these verses that shows how the Savior feels about the ordinance of the sacrament? (See also 3 Nephi 20:8-9.) How can this help you as you prepare and partake of the sacrament each week?
3 Nephi 18:15-21 “Ye Must”
Look for the words must and always in these verses. How many times did Jesus tell us to pray? What did He tell us to pray for? What else do you learn from these verses about prayer?
3 Nephi 18:22-25, 29-32 To Minister
Make two lists from these verses: 1) The things Jesus instructs us to do; and, 2) The things He tells us not to do. According to verse 32, why should we always “continue to minister”? Think of someone you know whose life changed because someone ministered as the Savior taught.
After studying Jesus’s first day among the Nephites in 3 Nephi 11-18, what impresses you most about Jesus Christ as a teacher? As a leader? As a minister? As your Savior?
3 Nephi 19:1-15 His Visit Continues
After Jesus “ascended again into heaven” (18:29), the people went home, but “an exceedingly great number” of them “did labor exceedingly all that night” to share the news of Jesus’s visit, so that those who had missed out could join them “on the morrow” (verses 1-3). We should also be “noisers abroad” (see verse 3) to share the good news of Jesus’s ministry and teachings.
The next day they gathered together in prayer, being led by the twelve “disciples” (the apostles), praying for “that which they most desired,” which was to receive the Holy Ghost (verses 5-9). Expressing their greatest desire, which was to receive the Holy Ghost (even more than to have Jesus come to them again), shows that they understood that the gift of the Holy Ghost would bless them even more than being in the presence of Jesus. In verses 10-15, look for the words fire and minister, which highlight the sacred events recounted in these verses.
3 Nephi 19:19-36 Jesus’s Prayers
The scriptures contain the words of several of Jesus’s prayers, including two in these verses. There is also a third prayer in these verses, about which Mormon said, “tongue cannot speak the words which he prayed, neither can be written by man the words which he prayed” (verse 32). Apparently Jesus’s words were heard and understood (see verse 33), but it is impossible to express the feeling and power of such things (see also 17:15-17).
Although we were not present to experience what the multitude did, we can surely learn from Jesus’s two prayers that are recorded in verses 20-23; 28-29:
- Our relationship with Him is fully based on our faith and belief in Him. As He prayed in these verses, He used the words faith, belief, and believe ten times.
- Jesus spoke of five blessings that He gave (or will give) to His disciples (the apostles) and to us:
- To be chosen out of the world (mentioned four times).
- To receive the Holy Ghost (three times).
- To be ministers of His word to others (four times).
- To be purified in Christ (promised four times).
- To become one with Him and with the Father (spoken twice).
- To be chosen out of the world (mentioned four times).
These are surpassing blessings that we can all strive to receive from Heavenly Father and from His Holy Son.
3 Nephi 19:24 “It Was Given Unto Them What They Should Pray”
As the disciples “did still continue without ceasing, to pray,” we learn that “it was given unto them what they should pray.” This is a clue for us regarding how to pray. Our most effective prayers are those that are inspired or “given” unto us; allowing our will to be one with the Lord’s will (see also Helaman 10:5; D&C 46:28, 30; 50:29-30; Romans 8:26).