One of my favorite scriptural accounts is 3 Nephi 11 where we read of the visit of Jesus Christ to the American Continent.
I was thinking briefly on this experience today, and I think I comprehended a few things for the first time. First, and unrelated to the title of this post, is that while it would have been marvelous to have been present for this event, the people who were there had to go through much to get there.
A good friend and I were recently talking about how much, in many ways, we are grateful for the privilege of being alive during these critical times and the inherent trust the Lord places in us. At the same time, we talked about how much, in many ways, we wish we weren’t here at this time. I’ll be honest; I’m not really interested in living through the Second Coming. I think that’s a natural human response to avoid pain and suffering. I don’t want to be here for that. I don’t want to witness that kind of suffering, especially among ones I love most deeply. However, I do want to be here for those glorious moments when His foot shall touch Olivet. That is something worth living for, and that privilege is the reward for the price of living and being faithful during these perilous times.
Back to the title of the post…. During Christ’s visit to the Americas, we read about Him taking each person present individually and allowing them to witness and see for themselves that He was who He claimed to be. As I thought about that a little more, I think I finally understood that we are not only His, but He is ours. We, through our faith and obedience, can lay a genuine claim on the Savior and claim Him for our own.
I’m reminded of the Brother of Jared who, for the greatness of his faith, literally forced the veil from his eyes so that he could behold the pre-mortal Messiah. I’m reminded of the Nephites who, during Christ’s visit to the Americas, seemingly forced the Savior to stay and be with them through their deep and sincere desire to be in His presence and be near Him. I’m further reminded of the countless occasions where the Prophet Joseph Smith communed with the Savior and other angelic visitors. I’m not convinced that those were singular experiences, but rather several in a host of events were people of faith and obedience have, through their actions and desires, laid claim to the Savior.
We often talk in the Church about our relationship to Christ, and we often use possessive forms. My Redeemer. My Savior. We talk about how He paid for our sins and made us His own. We talk about ourselves as His children, and He as our Elder Brother or, as the scriptures show, Father.
But I’ve always interpreted that as Him laying claim on us through the price He’s paid.
Now, though, the famous picture of the Savior knocking at the door with no external handle makes more sense to me. And maybe better, I finally see myself standing on the other side of the door waiting to lay claim to the Savior as truly my own.