"Behold, My Joy Is Full"
Lesson 39 - 3 Nephi 17-19
In your mind, picture Jesus healing the Nephites and blessing the children as you read 3 Nephi 17:5-13, 17-24. Consider what it might have been like to be among the multitude that experienced these events. Note: if you have access to the video: "My Joy is Full", review it. This lesson discusses these events and more of what the resurrected Savior did and taught when He visited the Nephites after His death and Resurrection.
Jesus commanded the Nephites to ponder and pray about what He taught. He healed the sick, blessed the children, and prayed for the people.
3 Nephi 17:1-2 As Jesus prepared to leave the Nephites, He recognized that the people did not understand all that He had been teaching them.
3 Nephi 17:3 He instructed the people to go home and ponder what they had been taught, pray to the Father for understanding, and prepare their minds for the next day's teachings.
In answer to the following questions: What does it mean to ponder? How would pondering help the Nephites prepare for further instruction from the Savior? How can pondering help us better understand gospel principles?, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin taught: "Pondering, which means to weigh mentally, to deliberate, to meditate, can achieve the opening of the spiritual eyes of oneís understanding. Also, the Spirit of the Lord may rest upon the ponderer" (Ensign, May 1982, 23).
Jesus told the people to pray about what He had taught them. Ponder how prayer helps us better understand gospel principles as it directs our spiritual faculties toward the things of God. Try to think of some other ways we can "prepare [our] minds" to receive the Lordís truths.
3 Nephi 17:5-6 Jesus was moved to "tarry a little longer" with the people because he felt their need and their desire for Him to stay among them. This demonstrated His feelings for the people as He expressed His compassion for them. In this context, consider how you have felt Jesusí love and concern for you.
3 Nephi 17:7-25 records the actions of the Savior as He tarried with the Nephites.
3 Nephi 17:7-9, 20 Their faith in the Savior enabled the sick and lame among the Nephites to be healed by the Savior.
3 Nephi 17:10 After the sick and lame were healed, both the healed and the whole bowed down and worshipped the Lord. Think about how you show your gratitude to the Savior for the blessings He has given you.
3 Nephi 17:21 This scripture records that the Nephite children were blessed one by one, showing the depth of the Savior's love for little children. (You may also want to read Matthew 19:13-15.)
3 Nephi 11:37-38 The Savior had commanded the Nephites to become as little children.
Mosiah 3:19 gives us insight into the childlike qualities Jesus wants us to have such as submissiveness, humility, meekness, patience, a fulness of love, and a willingness to submit unquestioningly to the Father's will.
The question we should ask (and answer for ourselves) is: What can I do to develop these qualities?
Jesus instituted the sacrament among the Nephites.
3 Nephi 18:1-4 After Jesus blessed the children, He instituted the sacrament among the Nephites.
3 Nephi 18:1-11 We learn about the ordinance of the sacrament from these verses:
a. 3 Nephi 18:5 The sacrament must be blessed and passed by those who have been ordained to do so.
b. 3 Nephi 18:5, 11 The sacrament is to be administered to all worthy members of the Church.
c. 3 Nephi 18:7, 11 The bread and wine represent the body and blood of the Savior.
see also D&C 27:2 and note that today we use water instead of wine.
3 Nephi 18:7, 10-11 We testify by partaking of the sacrament that we do always remember Him; that we are willing to follow His commandments.
3 Nephi 18:7, 11 The blessing promised to those who remember and follow Christ is that they may always have His Spirit to be with them.
Ponder what you can do to prepare yourself to partake of the sacrament each week. Search your mind to remember how partaking of the sacrament has been a blessing to you.
3 Nephi 18:26-29; see also 1 Corinthians 11:28-29 The Savior taught the disciples about the importance of partaking of the sacrament worthily and commanded them to guard it carefully from the unworthy.
Partaking of the sacrament unworthily brings condemnation upon us because we make a covenant that we are breaking as we make it since we are not obeying the commandments if we are unworthy, so covenanting to obey His commandments while simultaneously breaking them is hypocritical and makes a mockery of a solemn ordinance.
3 Nephi 18:29-32 The Savior told His disciples to pray for those who were not worthy to partake of the sacrament and minister to them, seeking to get them to repent; to change their lives so that they could be worthy.
3 Nephi 18:32 He instructed his followers not to cast out those who were not worthy to partake of the sacrament because they might someday repent and accept salvation.
It is important to continue to minister to those who have turned away from the gospel 1) for their benefit and possible salvation and 2) because the effort to teach and assist others gives us opportunity to show compassion and concern for our other family members. Think of ways in which you can do this.
3 Nephi 18:25 The Lord commanded the people to come to Him to see and to feel that they might know that He is the Resurrected Lord.
It is important for us to bear testimony of Jesus Christ to strengthen our own testimony and to give the Spirit the opportunity to bear spiritual confirmation of our testimony to those we teach.
The disciples taught and ministered to the people. The Savior returned to teach the people and pray for them.
3 Nephi 19:1-3 After Jesus ascended into heaven, the Nephites who had seen the Savior took their families to their own homes and they bore testimony of what they had experienced.
3 Nephi 19:3 Those who heard the Nephitesí testimonies of the Savior responded to those testimonies by preparing to be at the place where Jesus would appear on the morrow.
Think about the opportunities you have to bear witness of the Savior.
3 Nephi 19:4-8 While the multitude was waiting for the Saviorís arrival the next day, the twelve disciples taught the people, prayed with them, and ministered to them; note that this fulfilled the Saviorís instruction to them the previous day, as recorded in 3 Nephi 18:16.
3 Nephi 19:9; 10-15 The disciples prayed to receive the Holy Ghost, which was what they most desired.
3 Nephi 19:9 Consider why you think the disciples so fervently desired "that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them".
It is vital that we receive the Holy Ghost to enlighten us and prepare us to receive eternally-significant knowledge, but also to cleanse us that we might be worthy to be in the Lord's presence.
3 Nephi 19:17, 19 After instructing the disciples to pray, Jesus "went a little way off from them" to pray alone.
3 Nephi 19:21, 23 Jesus prayed for the Holy Ghost to be given to those who believed in the disciples' words and furthermore, He prayed that the disciples and the believers might truly believe in Him and join He and the Father in their unity of purpose.
You may want to compare this prayer to part of Jesusí great intercessory prayer before His Crucifixion, as recorded in John 17:20-23.
It is important that followers of Jesus Christ "be one" with Him and the Father. We become one with Them when we make our goal to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
3 Nephi 19:24-25 The prayers of the Nephite disciples were pleasing to the Lord because "it was given unto them what they should pray".
We follow the disciplesí examples in our own prayers when we pause and sincerely, fervently listen for the Holy Ghost to direct our prayers and tell us what we should pray for.
3 Nephi 19:31-33 The multitude was able to hear and understand Jesusí words the third time He prayed because their hearts were open.
To have an open heart is to allow our innermost desires to be directed by the Spirit. To open our hearts so the Spirit can teach us requires those child-like qualities mentioned previous in this lesson as recorded in Mosiah 3:19.
The Nephites were blessed to see and hear marvelous things because of their great faith (3 Nephi 17:20; 3 Nephi 19:35) and their fervent prayers (3 Nephi 19:6-9). As we exercise faith in Jesus Christ and pray fervently in our personal and family prayers, the Spirit of the Lord will be with us to bless and help us in all that we do.
1. "Watch and pray always"
3 Nephi 18:15. 18-19, 21. Prayer helps protect us from Satanís temptations. Think about how family prayer has influenced your family and consider ways in which you can increase your commitment to have daily family prayer--no matter what may try to interfere.
2. "And they did pray for that which they most desired" (3 Nephi 19:9).
If you have a note pad and a pen, make a list of the six things you desire most--if not, simply think about the six things you desire most. Then, cross off the items on the list that you would not feel comfortable praying for.
Read 3 Nephi 19:9 to see what the Nephite disciples desired most and then consider how you might increase your desire for righteousness and spirituality.
3. "And they did pray unto Jesus" (3 Nephi 19:18)
To clarify why the Nephite disciples prayed to Jesus (3 Nephi 19:18, 3 Nephi 19:24-25, 3 Nephi 19:30), read 3 Nephi 19:22 and the following statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "The only scriptural instances in which prayers were addressed directly to the Son were when...and because!...that Holy Being, as a resurrected personage, was standing before the petitioners. (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1966-73], 2:79).
Jesus Himself prayed to the Father at this time (3 Nephi 19:19-24, 27-29,31). All our prayers should be addressed to our Father in Heaven and closed in the name of Jesus Christ.