I am always profoundly touched by this part of the Book of Mormon. It is at this point that the Resurrected Lord announces to the people of the land that it is time for Him to leave and show Himself unto the lost tribes of Israel. As He does so, the people “look steadfastly upon Him as if they woud ask Him to tarry a little longer with them.” What happens next would surprise us, except for the fact that it is exactly what we probably would expect the Savior to do. He stays. And He stays a lot longer than one might expect. Granted, in the account of the event it is only two chapters, but because of the sheer number of people (2,500) involved in what happens in those next two chapters, we know that His stay was very lengthened.
What I love most about what is about to happen is not only what will happen, but HOW it will happen. As He heals the people, He heals them “every one”, one at a time. When He commands that they little children be brought to Him, “He took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.” He institutes the Sacrament and instructs them. And before departing, He takes His disciples and, “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.
As you read these chapters, it is worth the effort to identify the word “one” and “all”. He made time for the individuals, not just the multitude. What message do I learn from that? HE HAS TIME FOR YOU AND ME! ALL THE TIME IN ETERNITY! We just need to learn to ask Him to “tarry a little longer” with us.
Below are a few of my favorite paintings that depict the Savior as He, “took their little children, one by one”. As you examine them, I hope you will be reminded of how much He wants to have “one by one” experiences with you each day. HAVE WE MADE TIME FOR HIM AS THESE PEOPLE DID? I know that the Savior loves “ALL” of us, and wants to have experiences with each “ONE” of us on a daily basis.
The following short video highlights this portrayal of the Savior’s visit to the inhabitants of ancient America, providing a unique view of His caring, compassion, and love for His children.
My Joy is Full
Those who enjoy sacred music and verse may find the following two songs an uplifting addition to their study of this tender account. Each of them is entitled, “One by One”.
One by One
One. One by one, every one.
One by one we came to look upon the Lord.
And feast upon His word.
One by one.
One. One by one.
One by one we came.
The halt, the blind, the lame.
He healed us in his name.
One by one.
He spoke what no tongue can speak
What ear hath not heard before.
We saw what no eyes hath seen;
The joys of eternity
Ah Then he blessed our little ones.
And we were overcome, everyone.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia,
Alleluia, Oh Gloria.
One. One by one everyone.
One by one we came to look upon our Lord.
Text: Steven K. Jones
Music: Sam Cardon
Arranged By: Brian Jensen
Artist: Selected members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
The following talk by Elder Ronald A. Rasband illustrates well the Savior’s desire to minister to each of us “one by one”, and shows us how we can apply the “one by one” principle to our own life and ministry.
– Ronald A. Rasband
Throughout my life, I have come to know through my own experiences that Heavenly Father hears and answers our personal prayers. I know that Jesus is the living Christ and that He knows each of us individually, or as the scriptures express it, “one by one.”
This sacred assurance is taught compassionately by the Savior Himself in His appearance to the people of Nephi. We read of this in 3 Nephi, chapter 11, verse 15:
“And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth” (3 Ne. 11:15; emphasis added).
To further illustrate the “one by one” nature of our Savior’s ministry, we read in 3 Nephi, chapter 17, verse 9:
“And it came to pass that when he had thus spoken, all the multitude, with one accord, did go forth with their sick and their afflicted, and their lame, and with their blind, and with their dumb, and with all them that were afflicted in any manner; and he did heal them every one as they were brought forth unto him” (3 Ne. 17:9; emphasis added).
We then read of the special blessing given to the precious children in verse 21: “And when he had said these words, he wept, and the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them” (3 Ne. 17:21; emphasis added).
This was not a small gathering. In verse 25 [3 Ne. 17:25] we read: “And they were in number about two thousand and five hundred souls; and they did consist of men, women, and children.”
Certainly, there is a very profound and tender personal message here. Jesus Christ ministers to, and loves us all, one by one.
As we reflect on our Savior’s way of loving, we sustain you dedicated stake and ward leaders, men and women of great faith. We gratefully recognize the many efforts of those of you working with the youth. And we express great appreciation to our caring Primary leaders and teachers for your Christlike service. We consider each of your one-by-one ministries and say thank you and please, please continue. Perhaps never in the history of mankind do we need to be serving on a one-by-one basis more than we do now.
During the final months of our mission last year, we experienced an event that taught once again this profound principle that each of us is known and loved by God.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell was coming to New York City for some Church business, and we were informed that he would also like to have a mission conference. We were so pleased to have this opportunity to hear from one of the Lord’s chosen servants. I was asked to select one of our missionaries to provide the opening prayer for the meeting. I might have randomly picked one of the missionaries to pray, but felt to ponder and prayerfully select one whom the Lord would have me ask. In going through the missionary roster, a name boldly stood out to me: Elder Joseph Appiah of Accra, Ghana. He was the one I felt the Lord wanted to pray at the meeting.
Prior to the mission conference, I was having a regularly scheduled interview with Elder Appiah and told him of the prompting that I had received for him to pray. With amazement and humility in his eyes, he began to weep deeply. Somewhat surprised by his reaction, I started to tell him that it was all right and he wouldn’t have to pray, when he informed me he would love to offer the prayer, that his emotion was caused by the love he has for Elder Maxwell. He told me that this Apostle is very special to the Saints in Ghana and to his own family. Elder Maxwell had called his father to be the district president in Accra and had sealed his mother and father in the Salt Lake Temple.
Now, I didn’t know any of what I just related about this missionary or his family, but the Lord did and inspired a mission president on behalf of onemissionary to provide a lifelong memory and testimony-building experience.
At the meeting, Elder Appiah offered a wonderful prayer and made a humble contribution to a meeting where Elder Maxwell taught the missionaries of the attributes of Jesus Christ. All who were there will never forget the feelings of love they experienced for their Savior.
I have a testimony in my heart, brothers and sisters, that God, our Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ know and love us individually. I’m not sure I fully understand how, I just know and have experienced that They do. I urge all of us in our own ministries, to our families and to our fellowman, to embrace the Savior’s warm invitation to come unto Him, one by one, and be perfected in Him.
I share this witness and hope, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
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