So this chapter is pretty much the culmination of all that the previous six hundred years of Nephites had been looking forward to. The Nephites are gathered around the temple (we're not told why, but I assume Christ picked this time to come because so many of them were gathered there). They hear a voice that is indiscernable but after it speaks twice more, they finally understand it: Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him.
This chapter always brings me to tears as I imagine what it must have felt like to have been there. These people had just gone through one of the most traumatic things that has happened on the earth. Their world was literally torn apart and many of the people they knew had been killed. But they had also all heard the voice of Christ during the darkness. I can't even imagine the joy they must have felt to actually see Him.
I think the order of events here is interesting. It gives insights into what Christ finds most important:
1. He testifies of himself.
2. He invites everyone to come and feel his wounds so that they can know for themselves that he is Jesus Christ.
3. He calls forth Nephi, the prophet and head of the people, and gives him authority and direction to baptize. Then he does the same with the 12 disciples.
4. He instructs them to all repent and be baptized because it is necessary for salvation.
5. He directs them to go forth and declare this to the rest of the people.
It seems almost so simple, doesn't it? He gives them authority, some direction, and then tells them to go share with others. That's what he does today too. These 19-year-old boys that we send on missions have had a lifetime to learn about the gospel (some of them), but they are still relatively new and untrained in the gospel. Then they are given the Melichizedek Priesthood, set apart as missionaries, and sent out into the world to teach others. I think the most important thing to remember that even if all we have is a simple testimony of Christ, we can and should share that with others. People through the ages have probably wondered so many times why Christians are so anxious to share their faith with everyone else. I think it's because when we know Christ, we just can't help but want to share, and that's the same for Mormons and other Christians everywhere.
Well, I diverged a little from my original goal, but I really enjoyed this chapter and love reading it over and over. I'm so glad we have this record of Christ visiting his disciples in America and I know if we study his words, we can only grown closer to him.