Recently it was my privilege to travel in the Holy Land—to walk where Jesus had walked, to kneel where He had knelt, and to pray where He had prayed. My soul was deeply touched as I realized that some of the most moving events of His divine career were associated with children.
His life’s labors, both before His crucifixion and after His resurrection, reveal His tender concern for young people. One of His most significant statements was “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14).
Scripture records the visit of the Savior to the American continent shortly after His crucifixion in Jerusalem. Great earthquakes, storms, and calamities of all kinds swept over the land of Bountiful at this time and many people lost their lives. Of those who remained, a group gathered near the temple and cried unto God for help.
While they were praying and discussing the great changes, a voice spoke from heaven. It was not a harsh voice nor a loud voice; instead it was a small voice that pierced the hearts of those who heard it. But they could not understand the voice. Again the voice spoke, but again no one understood it. Then the voice spoke a third time, and the ears of the people were made to hear and their eyes looked toward heaven as the voice announced, “Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye Him.”
Just imagine yourselves being present on such a wonderful occasion!
Then the Savior addressed the people, saying, “Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.” All the people were invited to come forward and feel the prints of the nails in His hands and feet and the wounds of the sword in His side so that they would know that He was the promised Savior who had been slain for the world.
After all of the people had gone forth one by one and witnessed for themselves, they cried out together, “Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God!” And they fell down at the feet of Jesus and worshiped Him.
The Savior asked that all who were sick or afflicted be brought to Him, and He healed every one. Then He commanded the parents to bring their little children to Him. The people brought their children and set them on the ground near Him, and Jesus stood in the midst of them. Try to imagine this beautiful scene—a large multitude of people surrounding the Savior as He stands in their midst, the children nearest to Him, and teaches them the divine principles of the gospel!
Jesus had the multitude kneel, and all of them—men, women, and children—knelt before the Savior. And He Himself knelt down among them and prayed to His Father. The scripture records that as He prayed He wept, and the effect upon the people was so great that they could not arise until He commanded them to stand. And then weeping, the Savior took the children one by one and blessed them and prayed unto the Father for them.
And when He had done this, He wept again and said to the multitude, “Behold your little ones” (3 Ne. 17:23).
My young brothers and sisters, the Savior of the world is near to you. Make it a habit to pray to Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ every morning before you go to school or to work or to play. Tell Him that you are going out on another daily errand and that you need His help through the day and that you will return to report to Him in the evening. If you will do this, and then keep in mind throughout the day that you are going to have to make that report, it will be a great help to you. It will give you strength to meet and overcome evil and temptations, difficulties and disappointments, and make you a friend of the Savior of the world, who loves you with a love beyond the understanding of men.