Lesson 39

“Behold, My Joy Is Full”

“Lesson 39: ‘Behold, My Joy Is Full’” Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual (1999), 173–76


To help class members feel the love of the Lord Jesus Christ and develop a greater desire to exercise faith in Him and bear testimony of Him.


  1. Read, ponder, and pray about the following scriptures:

    1. 3 Nephi 17. After teaching the Nephites, Jesus commands them to return to their homes to ponder, pray, and prepare for His return the following day. Perceiving the people’s desire for Him to stay, He remains for a time and heals the sick, blesses the children, and prays for the people.

    2. 3 Nephi 18. Jesus institutes the sacrament among the Nephites and gives them additional counsel before ascending into heaven.

    3. 3 Nephi 19. The Nephites spread the news of Jesus’ visit, and a large multitude gathers in anticipation of His return. The Savior’s 12 disciples teach and minister to the multitude. The disciples are baptized and receive the Holy Ghost and the ministering of angels. The Savior returns to teach the people and pray for them.

  2. If you use the attention activity, prepare to show “My Joy Is Full,” a four-minute segment of Book of Mormon Video Presentations (53911). If this video presentation is not available, prepare to show the pictures Jesus Healing the Nephites (62541; Gospel Art Picture Kit 317) and Jesus Blesses the Nephite Children (Gospel Art Picture Kit 322) and have a class member prepare to read aloud 3 Nephi 17:5–13, 17–24.

  3. To set a reverent mood, you may want to have hymns about the Savior playing as class members enter the room.

Suggestions for Lesson Development

Attention Activity

As appropriate, use the following activity or one of your own to begin the lesson.

Show the video presentation “My Joy Is Full.” If the video presentation is not available, display the pictures of Jesus healing the Nephites and blessing the children and have the assigned class member read aloud 3 Nephi 17:5–13, 17–24.

Invite class members to share their thoughts on what it might have been like to be among the multitude that experienced these events. Explain that this lesson discusses these events and more of what the resurrected Savior did and taught when He visited the Nephites after His death and Resurrection.

Scripture Discussion and Application

Prayerfully select the scripture passages, questions, and other lesson material that will best meet class members’ needs. Discuss how the selected scriptures apply to daily life. Encourage class members to share appropriate experiences that relate to the scriptural principles.

1. Jesus commands the Nephites to ponder and pray about what He has taught. He heals the sick, blesses the children, and prays for the people.

Discuss 3 Nephi 17. Invite class members to read selected verses aloud.

  • As Jesus prepared to leave the Nephites, He recognized that the people did not understand all that He had been teaching them (3 Nephi 17:1–2). What did He instruct the people to do? (See 3 Nephi 17:3.) What does it mean to ponder? How would pondering help the Nephites prepare for further instruction from the Savior? How can pondering help us better understand gospel principles?

    Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin taught: “Pondering, which means to weigh mentally, to deliberate, to meditate, can achieve the opening of the spiritual eyes of one’s understanding. Also, the Spirit of the Lord may rest upon the ponderer” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1982, 33; or Ensign, May 1982, 23).

  • Jesus also told the people to pray about what He had taught them. How does prayer help us better understand gospel principles? What are some other ways we can “prepare [our] minds” to receive the Lord’s truths?

  • Why did Jesus “tarry a little longer” with the people? (See 3 Nephi 17:5–6.) How did this show His feelings for the people? How have you felt Jesus’ love and concern for you?

If you did not use the attention activity, you may want to show the video presentation “My Joy Is Full” now. Or have class members summarize the actions of the Savior as He tarried with the Nephites (3 Nephi 17:7–25).

  • What enabled the sick and lame among the Nephites to be healed by the Savior? (See 3 Nephi 17:7–9, 20.) What did the people do after the sick and lame were healed? (See 3 Nephi 17:10.) How can we show our gratitude to the Savior for the blessings He has given us?

  • How were the Nephite children blessed? (See 3 Nephi 17:21. Emphasize that the Savior blessed them one by one, showing the depth of His love for little children. You may also want to read Matthew 19:13–15.)

  • The Savior had commanded the Nephites to become as little children (3 Nephi 11:37–38). What childlike qualities does Jesus want us to have? (See Mosiah 3:19.) What can we do to develop these qualities?

2. Jesus institutes the sacrament among the Nephites.

Read and discuss selected verses from 3 Nephi 18.

  • After Jesus blessed the children, He instituted the sacrament among the Nephites (3 Nephi 18:1–4). What do we learn about the ordinance of the sacrament from 3 Nephi 18:1–11? (Answers may include those listed below.)

    1. The sacrament must be blessed and passed by those who have been ordained to do so (3 Nephi 18:5).

    2. The sacrament is to be administered to all worthy members of the Church (3 Nephi 18:5, 11).

    3. The bread and wine represent the body and blood of the Savior (3 Nephi 18:7, 11; see also D&C 27:2, noting that today we use water instead of wine).

  • Of what do we testify by partaking of the sacrament? (See 3 Nephi 18:7, 10–11.) What blessing is promised to those who remember and follow Christ? (See 3 Nephi 18:7, 11.) What can we do to prepare ourselves to partake of the sacrament each week? How has partaking of the sacrament been a blessing to you?

  • What did the Savior teach the disciples about the importance of partaking of the sacrament worthily? (See 3 Nephi 18:26–29; see also 1 Corinthians 11:28–29.) Why would partaking of the sacrament unworthily bring condemnation upon us?

  • What did the Savior tell His disciples to do for those who were not worthy to partake of the sacrament? (See 3 Nephi 18:29–32.) Why did He instruct them not to cast out those who were not worthy to partake of the sacrament? (See 3 Nephi 18:32.) Why is it important to continue to minister to those who have turned away from the gospel? In what ways can we do this?

  • For what reason did the Lord command the people to come to Him? (See 3 Nephi 18:25.) Why is it important for us to bear testimony of Jesus Christ?

3. The disciples teach and minister to the people. The Savior returns to teach the people and pray for them.

Read and discuss selected verses from 3 Nephi 19.

  • What did the Nephites who had seen the Savior do after He ascended into heaven? (See 3 Nephi 19:1–3.) How did those who heard the Nephites’ testimonies of the Savior respond to those testimonies? (See 3 Nephi 19:3.) What opportunities do we have to bear witness of the Savior?

  • While the multitude was waiting for the Savior’s arrival the next day, the twelve disciples taught the people, prayed with them, and ministered to them (3 Nephi 19:4–8; note that this fulfilled the Savior’s instruction to them the previous day, as recorded in 3 Nephi 18:16). What did the disciples pray for? (See 3 Nephi 19:9; see also verses 3 Nephi 19:10–15 and the second additional teaching idea.) Why do you think the disciples so fervently desired “that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them”? (3 Nephi 19:9). Why is it vital that we receive the Holy Ghost?

  • After instructing the disciples to pray, Jesus “went a little way off from them” to pray alone (3 Nephi 19:17, 19). For what did Jesus pray? (See 3 Nephi 19:21, 23. You may want to compare this prayer to part of Jesus’ great intercessory prayer before His Crucifixion, as recorded in John 17:20–23.) Why is it important that followers of Jesus Christ “be one” with Him and the Father? How can we become one with Them?

  • Why were the prayers of the Nephite disciples pleasing to the Lord? (See 3 Nephi 19:24–25. You may want to write class members’ responses on the chalkboard.) How can we follow the disciples’ examples in our own prayers?

  • Why was the multitude able to hear and understand Jesus’ words the third time He prayed? (See 3 Nephi 19:31–33.) What does it mean to have an open heart? What must we do to open our hearts so the Spirit can teach us?


Remind class members that the Nephites were blessed to see and hear marvelous things because of their great faith (3 Nephi 17:20; 19:35) and their fervent prayers (3 Nephi 19:6–9). Point out that as we exercise faith in Jesus Christ and pray fervently in our personal and family prayers, the Spirit of the Lord will be with us to bless and help us in all that we do.

As directed by the Spirit, testify of the truths discussed during the lesson.

Additional Teaching Ideas

The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use one or more of these ideas as part of the lesson.

3 Nephi 18:151. “Watch and pray always” ()

Have class members read 3 Nephi 18:15, 18–19, 21.

  • How can prayer help protect us from Satan’s temptations? How has family prayer influenced your family? How can we increase our commitment to have daily family prayer?

3 Nephi 19:92. “And they did pray for that which they most desired” ()

Before you discuss 3 Nephi 19:9, give class members paper and pens or pencils, and ask them to make a list of the six things they desire most. (If paper and pens or pencils are not available, invite class members to simply think about the six things they desire most.) Then ask them to cross off the items on the list that they would not feel comfortable praying for. Invite a class member to read 3 Nephi 19:9.

  • What did the Nephite disciples desire most? How can we increase our desire for righteousness and spirituality?

3 Nephi 19:183. “And they did pray unto Jesus” ()

To clarify why the Nephite disciples prayed to Jesus (3 Nephi 19:18, 24–25, 30), have class members read 3 Nephi 19:22. You may also want to read the following statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie:

“The only scriptural instances in which prayers were addressed directly to the Son were when—and because!—that Holy Being, as a resurrected personage, was standing before the petitioners” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1966–73], 2:79).

Point out that Jesus Himself prayed to the Father at this time (3 Nephi 19:19–24, 27–29, 31). All our prayers should be addressed to our Father in Heaven and closed in the name of Jesus Christ.