As the Savior’s first day with the Nephites drew to a close, He perceived that many did not fully understand His words. He taught them how to receive additional understanding, and He emphasized the importance of prayer and pondering. The people wept when He announced that He was leaving. Filled with compassion, the Savior remained a little longer to heal the sick, to pray for the people, and to bless their children. The Nephites were overcome with joy.
Invite students to think of a gospel doctrine or an aspect of the Church that they do not understand as well as they would like to.
What do you think you could do to gain greater understanding of that doctrine or aspect of the Church?
As students study 3 Nephi 17 today, invite them to look for a truth that can help them increase their understanding of gospel doctrines or aspects of the Church that may be unclear to them.
Remind students that Jesus Christ had taught the Nephites for what was likely most of a day. As He prepared to leave, He perceived that the people did not fully understand what He had taught.
Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 17:1–3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Savior told the Nephites they should do in order to gain more understanding. (Invite students to consider marking what they find.)
To help students identify a principle taught in 3 Nephi 17:3, write the following incomplete statement on the board, and ask students to complete it based on what they have learned.
Though students may use different words, they should identify the following principle: By pondering and praying to the Father, we prepare our minds to receive greater understanding. Write this principle on the board, and invite students to consider writing it in their scriptures next to verse 3.
What does it mean to ponder?
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency. Ask the class to listen for what he taught about what it means to ponder.
“Reading, studying, and pondering are not the same. We read words and we may get ideas. We study and we may discover patterns and connections in scripture. But when we ponder, we invite revelation by the Spirit. Pondering, to me, is the thinking and the praying I do after reading and studying in the scriptures carefully” (Henry B. Eyring, “Serve with the Spirit,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 60).
What did President Eyring teach about what it means to ponder?
How do you think pondering and praying can work together to help prepare our minds to receive greater understanding?
Invite students to consider if they have had experiences in which pondering and praying have led them to receive greater understanding of gospel truths. Ask a few students to share their experiences with the class.
Ask students to recall the gospel doctrine or aspect of the Church they thought of at the beginning of class. Invite them to think about how they will apply the Savior’s counsel to ponder and pray to Heavenly Father so they can receive greater understanding of that doctrine or aspect of the Church. Tell students that the next part of the lesson will provide an opportunity for them to practice pondering.
Display the picture Jesus Teaching in the Western Hemisphere (Gospel Art Book , no. 82; see also lds.org/media-library). Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 17:4 aloud. Point out the phrase “now I go unto the Father.” Ask students to imagine they have just spent a day with the Savior and He has announced that it is time for Him to leave. Invite a few students to share how they might feel in this situation.
Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 17:5 aloud, and ask the class to follow along, looking for how the Nephites responded when the Savior expressed His intention to depart.
How did the Nephites respond when the Savior expressed His intention to depart?
The following activity is designed to help students more fully understand the love Jesus Christ has for His people and to help them independently find truths in the scriptures about Jesus Christ. Copy the following chart on the board, and ask students to copy it in their class notebooks or study journals:
The Savior heals the sick and afflicted (see 3 Nephi 17:6–10)
The Savior prays for the people (see 3 Nephi 17:11–18)
Angels appear and minister to the children (see 3 Nephi 17:19–25)
Give students 5 to 10 minutes to silently study the scripture passages in the chart you have written on the board. As they study, invite them to identify truths about the Savior. Ask them to write down the truths they find under the appropriate heading in their study journals.
As students study these scripture passages, invite them to also visualize themselves among the Nephites at the time of the events recounted in 3 Nephi 17:6–25. Ask students to think about what they might have heard, seen, felt, and learned if they had been among the Nephites and interacted with the Savior on that occasion.
When students have finished studying, invite several of them to write on the board, under the corresponding scripture reference, one truth they have learned about the Savior. The following are some of the truths they may identify: The Savior feels great compassion for us. Jesus Christ can heal every kind of affliction. As we come unto Jesus Christ in faith, we can experience His healing power. Invite students to consider writing some or all of these truths in their scriptures next to the verses that teach these truths.
Why is it important for us to know these truths about the Savior?
How does understanding the Savior’s compassionate nature help you to exercise faith in Him?
Point out the phrase “afflicted in any manner” in 3 Nephi 17:9.
What types of ailments might be included in afflictions of “any manner”? (All types of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual ailments.)
Ask students to ponder ways in which they or someone they know may be “afflicted” and what they would ask the Savior to heal them of if He were to bless them personally. Remind them that although the Savior is not here to minister to us in person, His power to bless and heal is available through the priesthood.
Invite students to write their responses to the following question in their class notebooks or study journals. (It may be helpful to write this question on the board.)
When have you or someone you know experienced the Savior’s compassion and healing power?
After sufficient time, invite one or more students to share with the class what they wrote. Be sure they understand that they should not feel obligated to share anything that is too personal or private. You may also want to share an experience, as well as your testimony of the truths you have discussed.
Encourage students to act on the truths they identified in this lesson by trusting in the Savior’s compassion as they rely on the Savior for help with their desires, weaknesses, heartaches, and trials.