Jesus looks around, gauging their expressions, probably trying to see if they understand. Then He says: “Behold, my time is at hand.” (1) He is aware of them and their needs.
Am I aware of those around me, or am I caught up in myself?
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.”3 Nephi 17:2
Jesus took the time to look outside Himself and perceive. Think of how much better this world if we all took quiet moments intermittently throughout the day to stop, look, and ponder. In other words, perceive other’s needs around us.
Jesus could sense that his audience didn’t fully understand all His words. He could have just explained more, but the best truths are caught, not taught. So, He tells them to “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.” (3)
These are the steps to receiving revelation.
- Ponder the things which we hear.
- Pray about them, so we can understand better.
- Prepare our minds for more truth.
Ponder, pray, prepare. The three P’s to gain personal revelation.
Are there times you could apply the three P’s to your life? For me, I think I could use them at church, by writing down notes to help me remember what is taught or spoken about that day. Then I can go home, as Jesus told them to do, and ponder over those teachings, pray about how to apply them to my own life, and prepare my mind during the coming week to receive more truth the next Sunday.
Jesus tells them He must go to the Father and also to show Himself to the other lost tribes, that aren’t lost to God. He looks around again. The people have tears and are looking steadfastly at Him, as if to ask that He stay. I can empathize. I’d want Him to stay too.
He has compassion and tells them to bring their sick to Him, or any “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.” (7)
This should fill us with so much hope. No matter what ails us, what troubles us, what fills us with shame or worries us, Christ understands and wants to comfort and heal us. He wants us to give Him our burdens, that our spirits might be light and happy again.
He perceives again that their faith is sufficient for Him to heal them. After he heals them one by one, “they did all, both they who had been healed and they who were whole, bow down at his feet, and did worship him;” (10)
Next He asks for their little children to be brought to Him. Jesus stands in the middle, with the children surrounding Him. The crowd kneels behind them. Jesus groans for the wickedness of His people. He prays to the Father, but the things cannot be written.
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.
And no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father.”3 Nephi 17:16-17
The people are overcome with joy. Jesus is overcome with joy also.
And now behold, my joy is full.
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.”3 Nephi 17:20-21
Again, I love the one-by-one concept. Jesus probably had the power to do a mass healing earlier. And He could’ve given the children a mass blessing, for time’s sake. But He took the time to heal the people one by one. And He took the time to bless the children, one by one.
Do I take the time to minister to the one? Do I set aside time in my busy schedule to allow the Spirit to guide me in helping who He prompts me to help? Jesus gave of His time. We should do the same to help those around us.
Jesus tells them to “Behold your little ones.” (23)
Beholding infers cherishing, understanding, perceiving. Do I cherish the little ones in my life? Do I respect and try to understand them?
The heavens open. Angels come down and encircle their little ones with fire. They minister unto them. And Jesus prays for them all. About 2,500 people witness this event.
Can you imagine Christ praying for you, and weeping afterward? His love is so tangible in this scene. I know He didn’t just pray for the Nephites when He visited them. He prays for us individually as well. And why shouldn’t He? He took upon Himself all of our sins individually, so I think He has a huge stake in whether we accept His priceless gift or not. I bet He is constantly praying that we will be protected from the Adversary’s subtle tricks and that we’ll have the desire to choose Him. I imagine He weeps with sorrow when we choose different paths, but is overcome with joy when we return.
Jesus was all about ministering to the one. Each person was important to Him. He didn’t just love those who loved Him back. He loves everyone. And He has commanded us to do the same.
In this crazy world with so many chaotic voices screaming at us from every different side, it can be easy to love those that think like us or look like us, or act like us, and hate those who don’t. But Christ has called us to walk a higher road than the rest of the world. He showed us the way, the truth, and the light. He is that way, that truth, and that light. He ministered and loved every single person. Each was important to Him.
Let us each ponder, pray, and prepare our minds to serve Christ and our fellowmen a little better each day—to minister to others, one by one, to love our enemies and do good to those who might persecute us. Let us lift, not put down.