In this chapter, Jesus administers the sacrament unto the people. He takes of the bread and wine that is gathered, and breaks the bread, then blesses it. Could this order symbolize how His body was broken first upon the cross, then blessed when He was resurrected?
Jesus gives the sacrament to His newly called apostles to partake.
“And when they had eaten and were filled, he commanded that they should give unto the multitude.” (4)
How can we be filled by partaking of Christ’s sacrament?
In a talk by Don R. Clarke (source cited at end), he gave five principles that can bless (or fill) our lives as we partake of the sacrament worthily each week.
- Have a feeling of gratitude for the Atonement of Jesus Christ
- Remember that we are renewing baptismal covenants: taking Christ’s name upon us, always remembering Him, keeping His commandments, bearing one another’s burdens, mourning with those that mourn, and standing as witnesses of God are some of these covenants. We can ask ourselves during this sacred ordinance if we are living up to what we have promised God. Then we can ask forgiveness for all the ways we’ve fallen short and ask for renewed determination to do better the coming week.
- We can feel forgiven of our sins. If we have spent time before this ordinance preparing our hearts and minds through repentance, we can leave sacrament meeting feeling clean and pure.
- We can receive inspiration for solutions to our problems. We come with problems to set before the Lord, and are humble as children ready to learn at His feet, and have a desire to help God’s children with the answers He gives to us.
- Partake of the Sacrament worthily to be filled with the Holy Ghost. If we hunger and thirst after righteousness, the Holy Ghost can be our constant companion.
The apostles give the Sacrament to the people (2,500 of them). They are all filled. Jesus tells them that they must ordain someone to do this every week among them, as He has done.
And this shall ye do in remembrance of my body, which I have shown unto you. And it shall be a testimony unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you.”3 Nephi 18:7
Elder Melvin J. Ballard, in the same talk cited at the end of this post, said:
I am a witness that there is a spirit attending the administration of the sacrament that warms the soul from head to foot; you feel the wounds of the spirit being healed, and the load being lifted. Comfort and happiness come to the soul that is worthy and truly desirous of partaking of this spiritual food.”(citation link below)
Each week, before we go to church to partake of this sacred ordinance in remembrance of our Savior, we need to sincerely ask ourselves if we are worthy. If we are not, we can repent and become worthy, through the blood of Jesus Christ. He will fill our souls with His Spirit and strengthen us for the coming week if we take our covenants with Him seriously.
And this shall ye always do to those who repent and are baptized in my name; and ye shall do it in remembrance of my blood, which I have shed for you, that ye may witness unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you.” (3 Nephi 18:11
If we do these things and repent consistently, we will be “built upon [His] rock.” (12)
Jesus then gives them a warning.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always, lest ye be tempted by the devil, and ye be led away captive by him.”3 Nephi 18:15
To me, watching consists of being aware of ourselves (what we are doing and not doing), so we can quickly repent when we deviate from the true path and not give way for the Adversary to bind us with his small threads that become heavy chains we cannot escape.
He repeats the warning, to “watch and pray always…for Satan desireth to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.” (18)
Whatever we pray for that is right, it shall be given us. Jesus tells them and us to “Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed.” (21)
He tells them to not forbid any man from worshiping with us, but “suffer them that they may come unto you…” (22) The church is for the sick and imperfect. We should not shun any for their appearance or sins, for that is unmerciful and unChristlike.
Welcome everyone. Pray for them.
Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do. Behold ye see that I have prayed unto the Father, and ye all have witnessed.”3 Nephi 18:24
Christ is the light! He is who we should glorify in our actions and words. He says that just as He has welcomed them and has commanded none of them to go away, so we should do “unto the world.” Be welcoming, not cliquish. That leads us into temptation.
When we truly love Him, we keep His commandments and let our light so shine before men. The light we shine is Christ’s light. We love everyone we meet, and don’t judge them as too sinful to be saved. Everyone can be saved. That’s why we need to hold up Christ’s atonement to the world and say, “Repent, and come unto Him!” He’ll accept you and make you better than you can ever be on your own. He’ll make you happy and let you drink of the living water so you never thirst again, and partake of the bread of life, so you never hunger.
Christ is very clear about welcoming everyone, no matter what they have done. The natural man or woman in each of us wants to turn away from anyone who is different than us. Anyone who dresses differently or has tons of tattoos. Anyone who thinks differently than us or acts differently. Anyone who seems awkward or uncomfortable because they don’t fit inside the tight little bubble we have decided is “normal.” But Christ never turned away from those that were different than Him.
The only way the Church is selective is about covenants. God does not want us partaking of the sacrament or any other covenant unworthily, because that can be harmful to our salvation. If we’re not ready to obey and keep covenants, He doesn’t want us taking them upon us.
But we must ask ALL men and women to come with us to church, to enjoy our fellowship no matter what they have done in their personal lives. We must love them all “for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them.” (32)
Jesus then touches each of His apostles one by one. I absolutely love how He ministered one by one. He has called us to do the same. We might not be able to influence the whole world, but we can minister, as He did, one by one to our family, our neighbors, and others that come into contact with us.
And the multitude heard not the words which he spake, therefore they did not bear record; but the disciples bare record that he gave them power to give the Holy Ghost.”3 Nephi 18:37
Since He was leaving them, He gave them the gift of the Holy Ghost, another member of the Godhead, to be with them in His absence. A cloud comes over and Jesus ascends into heaven.
What goals can I make and keep this week, to prepare to have the Holy Ghost with me, so I am worthy to partake of the Lord’s sacrament, let Christ’s light shine through me, and minister one by one to those around me?