Friday, March 23, 2018

When Jesus commands Nephi to come forth

At Christ’s appearance to the Nephites, after the multitude has all touched and seen the wounds in the risen Christ’s hands and feet, there is this incident that happens:

And it came to pass that he [Christ] spake unto Nephi (for Nephi was among the multitude) and he commanded him that he should come forth. (3 Nephi 11:18)

This caught my eye recently and my imagination started working on it, visualizing it. Nephi was not up at the front of the crowd; he’s out in the middle, and Jesus spotted him and told him to come forth.

Now, imagine you were Nephi. This is sort of like being pointed out in the crowd at stake conference when you’re sitting in the back. What do you suppose is going through Nephi’s head as he comes up to meet the Savior? He’s already personally seen the wounds in His hands and feet as part of the great witness experience. And now he’s been singled out. What for?

I wonder if he was searching his memory frantically, wondering if there was anything he’d done wrong in his ministry. If he had, and the Savior decided to comment on it, Nephi had to be spiritually ready to take it and learn from it.

I love what Nephi does when he finally reaches Jesus.

And Nephi arose and went forth, and bowed himself before the Lord and did kiss his feet. (3 Nephi 11:19)

That gesture was Nephi’s way of demonstrating that he was ready for whatever Christ chose to say to him, ready for instruction, for reproof, for assignment, for anything. It showed his humility and submission as a servant of God. He’d followed spiritual promptings so often before that he was ready.

Another thing I love about this incident is that even though Nephi was mixed among the crowd of believers, the Lord was able to pick him out. He knew him. And as we can see from what happens next, he knew Nephi’s faithfulness because he gave him power to baptize.

That bestowal of power to baptize must have been a reaffirmation because Nephi had been baptizing people to repentance before, so he wasn’t without authority. There may have been disputations about the way to baptize and so this stuff had to be laid out plainly for everyone. If Nephi had had to work among people who questioned his authority and methods, Jesus’s singling him out and giving him power would be reassuring.

I hope that if I or any of us were ever singled out by Christ or our leaders, that we could be as humble and ready for whatever is asked of us.


Unknown said...

I remember teaching that in Primary, and we all thought that Nephi was in trouble. I asked the kids what would be their response if say their moms would eagle eye it and find them in a crowd.
I know that in this context, the Lord had asked for the "books" and was teaching out of Malachi. Apparently their was some missing info to simplify. I wondered when the books of life were gathered at his coming and he was going through each and every one, I know that there would probably be opportunities for us to defend or not what was written or omitted. This is how I have imagined the "pleasing bar", the seat of judgement.

Michaela Stephens said...

Oh, this wasn't yet the point when Jesus was looking at their scriptures that were written. That doesn't come until 3 Nephi 23.

Thanks for stopping by, Ramona!