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Part 2 Ministering One by One: Reviewing Third Nephi 18-28

Jesus Christ Teaching the Nephites

The Blessings of the Sacrament and the Holy Ghost

Following these miraculous manifestations, Jesus arranged for everyone to be filled both physically and spiritually with the bread and wine of the sacrament that He blessed. He counselled that they “…meet together oft; and ye shall not forbid any man from coming unto you when ye shall meet together,…” (3 Nephi 18:22). He specifically commanded the disciples that they should “…not suffer any one knowingly to partake of my flesh and blood unworthily, when ye shall minister it;” (3 Nephi 18:28). They were, however, to “…minister unto him and shall pray for him unto the Father, in my name; and if it so be that he repenteth and is baptized in my name, then shall ye receive him, and shall minister unto him of my flesh and blood.” (3 Nephi 18:30).

Deacons Administering the Sacrament

Even if an individual did not repent, Jesus directed, “…for unto such shall ye continue to minister; 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.” (3 Nephi 18:32). Christ-like ministering does not cast out or shun. Instead, we “…warn, expound, exhort, and teach, and invite all to come unto Christ.” (D&C 20:59).

Before leaving, Jesus “…touched with his hand the disciples whom he had chosen, one by one, even until he had touched them all, and spake unto them as he touched them.” (3 Nephi 18:36). As He touched them, “…he gave them power to give the Holy Ghost.” (3 Nephi 18:37). Each person is individually ordained to the priesthood through the laying on of hands and being called by name (Moroni 2:2). Likewise, each person is confirmed a member of the Church and receives the Holy Ghost individually: “And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” (Moroni 10:5).

Young Girl being Confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Delegating the Work of the Lord

After ordaining the disciples, Jesus ascended into heaven. Word spread that “…the multitude had seen Jesus, and that he had ministered unto them,…” (3 Nephi 19:2). The next morning so many people had gathered throughout the night that the disciples divided them into twelve groups. Then, the disciples “…arose and ministered unto the people. And when they had ministered those same words which Jesus had spoken… they knelt again and prayed to the Father in the name of Jesus.” (3 Nephi 19:7-8). They desired that they could receive the Holy Ghost. So, after Nephi baptized all of them, “…they were filled with the Holy Ghost and with fire.” (3 Nephi 19:13). The Spirit was so all-encompassing that “…angels did come down out of heaven and did minister unto them. And it came to pass that while the angels were ministering unto the disciples, behold, Jesus came and stood in the midst and ministered unto them.” (3 Nephi 19:14-15). The actions of the disciples show that it is important to delegate the work of the Lord and to pray for guidance. The appearance of angels shows that heavenly helpers can assist and strengthen us. By example, Christ demonstrates: “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” (Matthew 23:11). 

Jesus Reviews Scriptural Records

After praying with the multitude and miraculously administering the sacrament, Jesus quotes many prophets, both supplementing (Malachi 3; 4) and correcting their scriptural records.

Book of Mormon Gold Plates

Delegating the Work of the Lord

After ordaining the disciples, Jesus ascended into heaven. Word spread that “…the multitude had seen Jesus, and that he had ministered unto them,…” (3 Nephi 19:2). The next morning so many people had gathered throughout the night that the disciples divided them into twelve groups. Then, the disciples “…arose and ministered unto the people. And when they had ministered those same words which Jesus had spoken… they knelt again and prayed to the Father in the name of Jesus.” (3 Nephi 19:7-8). They desired that they could receive the Holy Ghost. So, after Nephi baptized all of them, “…they were filled with the Holy Ghost and with fire.” (3 Nephi 19:13). The Spirit was so all-encompassing that “…angels did come down out of heaven and did minister unto them. And it came to pass that while the angels were ministering unto the disciples, behold, Jesus came and stood in the midst and ministered unto them.” (3 Nephi 19:14-15). The actions of the disciples show that it is important to delegate the work of the Lord and to pray for guidance. The appearance of angels shows that heavenly helpers can assist and strengthen us. By example, Christ demonstrates: “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” (Matthew 23:11). 

Jesus Reviews Scriptural Records

After praying with the multitude and miraculously administering the sacrament, Jesus quotes many prophets, both supplementing (Malachi 3; 4) and correcting their scriptural records.

Studying the Book of Mormon

Blessing Children and Caring for One Another

When Christ returned for a third day, “…he did teach and minister unto the children of the multitude… and he did loose their tongues,…” (3 Nephi 26:14). The adults “…both saw and heard these children; yea, even babes did open their mouths and utter marvellous things;…” (3 Nephi 26:16). By doing this, Jesus demonstrates that children can reveal many important gospel truths. Focusing on children should be a critical part of our ministering efforts.

Jesus Christ and the Children

After three consecutive days of ministering, Jesus “did show himself unto them oft,…” blessing the emblems of the sacrament and answering their questions (3 Nephi 26:13). His disciples baptized and bestowed the Holy Ghost upon all who came to them. They “…taught, and did minister one to another; and they had all things common among them, every man dealing justly, one with another.” (3 Nephi 26:19). As Mormon explained, “…surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.” (4 Nephi 1:16).

Jesus Individually Interviews His Disciples

Jesus concludes with a “…one by one,…” (3 Nephi 28:1) interview with His disciples. Nine of them expressed, “…We desire that after we have lived unto the age of man, that our ministry, wherein thou hast called us, may have an end, that we may speedily come unto thee in thy kingdom.” (3 Nephi 28:2). Jesus tells these nine disciples that He will grant their request and “…touched every one of them with his finger…” (3 Nephi 28:12). The other three disciples dared not express their wishes. Jesus, however, was able to perceive what they wanted: “…ye have desired the thing which John, my beloved, who was with me in my ministry,…ye shall never taste of death; but ye shall live to behold… when I shall come in my glory with the powers of heaven.” (3 Nephi 28:6-7). For these three, “…the heavens were opened, and they were caught up into heaven, and saw and heard unspeakable things.” (3 Nephi 28:13). After their transfiguration, “…they did again minister upon the face of the earth; nevertheless they did not minister of the things which they had heard and seen, …in heaven.” (3 Nephi 28:16). Instead, “…they did go forth upon the face of the land, and did minister unto all the people,…” (3 Nephi 28:18). Nearly 350 years later, Mormon testified, “…I have seen them, and they have ministered unto me.” (3 Nephi 28:26). Mormon also prophesies, “…when the Lord seeth fit in his wisdom that they shall minister unto all the scattered tribes of Israel, and unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, and shall bring out of them unto Jesus many souls,…” (3 Nephi 28:29). These interviews show how Jesus ministered one by one. Even if some were not able to express their thoughts openly, Christ looked at their personal intentions and blessed them to fulfill their responsibilities in building the kingdom of God on earth. In our ministering interviews, we should strive to do likewise and be guided by both the example of Jesus Christ and the promptings of the Spirit.

View video Ministering Interviews.

President Russell M. Nelson

A Modern-day Prophet Challenges Us to Begin a New Era of Ministering

President Russell M. Nelson summarizes the challenge that we now face in watching over people one by one and nourishing them in righteousness:

This general conference marks the beginning of a new era of ministering. The Lord has made important adjustments in the way we care for each other. Sisters and brothers—old and young—will serve one another in a new, holier way. Elders quorums will be strengthened to bless the lives of men, women, and children throughout the world. Relief Society sisters will continue to minister in their unique and loving way, extending opportunities to younger sisters to join them as appropriately assigned.

Our message to the world is simple and sincere: we invite all of God’s children on both sides of the veil to come unto their Savior, receive the blessings of the holy temple, have enduring joy, and qualify for eternal life. (Ensign, May 2018)