As His first day with the Nephites drew to a close, Jesus Christ perceived that many people did not fully comprehend what He had taught them. Therefore, He taught them how to receive additional understanding. The people wept when He said He was leaving. Filled with compassion, the Savior remained with them longer. He healed their sick, blessed their children, and prayed for them. The multitude felt great joy and love for the Savior as they interacted with Him.
How do you respond when you come across a teaching in the scriptures or from a Church leader that you do not understand? Circle all that apply:
I just ignore the teaching.
I ask another person to help me understand.
I carefully think about the teaching.
I ask Heavenly Father to help me understand.
The events recorded in 3 Nephi 17 occurred near the end of Jesus Christ’s first day with the Nephite multitude. Read 3 Nephi 17:1–3, and mark what the Savior told the Nephites to do in order to better understand what He had taught them. Consider how going to your home to ponder and pray can help you better understand gospel truths.
President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency explained what it means to ponder. Read the following statement and highlight words or phrases that describe 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” (“Serve with the Spirit,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 60).
Look carefully at 3 Nephi 17:3, and notice that the Savior instructed the people to “prepare [their] minds” for their next experience with Him. Before moving on in your study, ponder how you would answer the following questions: What could you do to prepare your mind before attending church? Before attending seminary? Before listening to general conference? Before studying the scriptures? What difference do you think preparing your mind would make in what you gain from those learning opportunities?
One of the principles we learn from these verses is: By pondering and praying to the Father, we can receive greater understanding. (You may want to write this in your scriptures next to 3 Nephi 17:1–3.)
To help you apply this principle, select one or both of the items below and incorporate the action into your life during the coming week. Write in your scripture study journal what you did. Also write about how this action increased what you learned in church, seminary, or general conference or from the scriptures. Be prepared to share this journal activity with your teacher. Also, make a plan to continue to improve in one of these areas during the coming weeks.
I will prepare my mind before I attend church or seminary.
I will ponder and pray about what I hear in church or seminary.
Think about a time when you felt so uplifted and full of joy that you did not want the experience to end. Read 3 Nephi 17:4–5 to find out how the Nephites reacted when the Savior said that He would return to His Father.
The Savior responded to the Nephites’ righteous desires with great compassion. The following activity can help you understand more fully the love Jesus Christ has for all of us. It can also help you discover scriptural truths about the character and nature of Jesus Christ.
Write the following scripture references in your scripture study journal. Leave space under each reference for further information: 3 Nephi 17:6–10; 3 Nephi 17:11–18; 3 Nephi 17:19–25. Study each of these scripture passages, looking for truths about the Savior’s character—what He is like. Find at least three truths, one truth for each scripture reference, and record them under the appropriate reference.
One of the most tender and touching events described in the Book of Mormon is Jesus blessing the little children who were present on that occasion. This episode helps us understand the nature and character of Jesus Christ. Before he quoted the account of the Savior and the children from 3 Nephi 17:11–12, 21–25, President Boyd K. Packer stated, “In the account of the Savior’s ministry among the Nephites, we can see deeper into His soul perhaps than at any other place” (“Teach the Children,” Ensign, Feb. 2000, 16–17).
Notice that the multitude brought those who were sick and afflicted to the Savior, including those who were “afflicted in any manner” (3 Nephi 17:9). These afflictions could have been physical, emotional, or mental. Ponder ways in which you may be “afflicted.” How might the Savior help you with your afflictions if He were to personally bless you?
Review the principle about pondering that you learned at the beginning of this lesson. One way to ponder is to visualize yourself in the same situation described in the scripture account. Take a moment and visualize what it would have been like if you had been a participant in the events recorded in 3 Nephi 17. In your scripture study journal, describe what you think you would have heard, seen, and felt on that occasion and what you would have learned from the Savior. You may also want to describe the blessing you might have sought from the Savior.
Think of a sentence that describes a truth you learned from 3 Nephi 17:6–25. Write the sentence in the margin of your scriptures near these verses or in your scripture study journal. One of the truths from these scriptures is: The Savior feels great compassion for us. Why is it important for you to know the truths about the Savior’s character that you have learned from these verses?
Read the following statement about faith: “In order for your faith to lead you to salvation, it must be centered in the Lord Jesus Christ. … You can exercise faith in Christ when you have an assurance that He exists, a correct idea of His character, and a knowledge that you are striving to live according to His will” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference , 54).
Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How does understanding the Savior’s compassionate nature help you exercise faith in Him?
Share with another person something you learned about the Savior from 3 Nephi 17. In your scripture study journal, record the name of this person and a summary of what you said to him or her.
Although we have not had the experience the Nephites had with Jesus Christ, the day will come for each of us when we will see and hear Him. Throughout the next day or two, ponder this lesson. Think about the Savior’s compassion as you pray about your desires, weaknesses, heartaches, and trials.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 3 Nephi 17 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: