Friday, August 31, 2007

3 Nephi 11

V. 3-6: Open Your Ears and Look
The Nephites hear a voice coming from heaven. The voice is not harsh or loud. It pierced them to the "center." It took them three times before they understood it. On the third time, they opened their ears and the looked with their eyes towards the sound. How many times are we distracted by other things that we close our ears to and look the other way from the direction of our leaders' counsel? If we do not open our ears and look to our leaders for direction, we will not understand what the Lord would have us do.

V. 11: The Will of the Father
Christ announced to the Nephites that he is the light and life of the world. Without him, we would all be lost forever just as we would be doomed to die on a world without light. The planet would be too cold to live on and vegetation would not grow. We would die of either cold or hunger. Additionally, Christ told the Nephites that he fulfilled his father's will "in all things from the beginning."

How many times do I seek my own will rather than the will of God? (Too many I'm afraid.) But think upon this idea of doing the Father's will. What are our reasons for not doing the Father's will? I imagine that we are seeking other ways to find happiness. We may be focused on obtaining material wealth. We may be afraid that if we devote our precious time and resources to the Father's will, we will never achieve anything of our own. But if we seek the Father's will in all things, we will inherit all that Heavenly Father possesses or in other words, "the kingdom of God" (v. 38). So really, it is in our best interest to seek the will of the Father so that one day, we will inherit "the kingdom of God."

V. 14-15: Come Forth Unto Me
Christ invites the people to learn for themselves that He is indeed the Christ that was prophesied of to come. He invites them to thrust their hands into his side. This is in reference to when the Roman guards went to break his legs so that he would die of suffocation; they found that Christ was already dead. They took a spear and pierced his side and blood and water came gushing out (John 19:34). He invites the Nephites to feel the prints of the nails that were driven in his hands, wrists and feet. The individual who would feel his marks would know that Christ is indeed the "God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth" and that he has died for the sins of the world. We learn from 1 Nephi 11:33 that Nephi knew that Christ would be crucified. This knowledge would have been passed down from prophet to prophet and from prophet to people so that the people would know the true Christ. One day, each of us will know that Jesus is the Christ. Everyone will confess that he is the Christ. For the individual who is righteous enough, I imagine that one day he or she will experience the same intimate manifestation the Nephites enjoyed. He or she will feel the marks of Christ and know for sure that Christ is his or her personal Savior.

V. 21-28: The Authority and Manner of Baptism
After the Nephites feel the marks of the Savior, Jesus calls Nephi and gives him power to baptize in Christ's name. Christ also exhorts them not to have disputations among themselves. Jesus clearly outlines the procedure of baptism. The person must repent before baptism. He then must "go down and stand in the water." The baptismal prayer is pronounced and then the person is "immersed" in the water. God's kingdom is a kingdom of order. The ordinance that allows a person into God's kingdom then ought to be well organized and ordained from God. Here in these verses, Christ clearly establishes the standard for baptism into God's kingdom. There must have been some disagreements among the Nephites prior to Christ's coming since Jesus exhorts them to not dispute.

V. 29-41: The Doctrine of Christ
Jesus then teaches the people his doctrine – both what it is and what it is not. He first teaches them that his doctrine is not to have the spirit of contention. The doctrine of contention is of the devil. Satan would have the children of God stirred up in anger one with another. But Christ's doctrine is to do away with such contention. In place of contention is the doctrine of faith, repentance, baptism and becoming like a little child. The qualities of a little child are precious. A little child is humble, meek, obedient, willing to submit and loving. I tend to think of my children when I read this doctrine. They are quick to say "I'm sorry." They are obedient, kind and loving.

No comments: