The previous story was about Jesus Christ and His visit to the people of the Americas.  The entrance of His visit was unprecedented in drama and grandeur.  Earthquakes, thunder and lightening, terrible tempests, and 3 days of darkness preceded what is considered to be the crowning event of The Book of Mormon.  As he descended from the heavens, people watched in fearless wonder.  Fearless because the wicked had not survived the tumultuous entrance, leaving only righteous admirers of this glorious event.  Christ interacted with his astounded audience much like he did with the Jews before he was crucified.
As the children began to approach Him, the disciples were particularly concerned that the children would interrupt and disturb Jesus while he was teaching the adults and interacting with the apostles. But the Savior wanted the children to come near him. When speaking to the XXX in XXX (Mark 10:16), Jesus said “Suffer the little children to come unto me”.  The word suffer here means to allow or let.  And so it was with the Nephites.  When Jesus Christ had finished teaching the people in America, they did not want him to leave. Jesus’ deep love for the people was very much apparent as he blessed and healed all who were sick or injured or disabled (3 Nephi 17:7–10).  Then Jesus asked that all the little children be brought unto him. As he gathered the children around him, he said a wonderful prayer.  And so great and marvelous were the words of this prayer that they could not be written (3 Nephi 17:15).  Jesus then took the children one by one and blessed them and prayed to Heavenly Father for them. As the parents watched, they could see angels with their children, and all the people there could feel Jesus’ great love for them.
“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. And when he had done this he wept again; And he spake unto the multitude, and said unto them: Behold your little ones. And as they looked to behold they cast their eyes towards heaven, and they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were in the midst of fire; and they came down and encircled those little ones about, and they were encircled about with fire; and the angels did minister unto them” (3 Nephi 17:21-25).
Can you even imagine what it would be like to have your children blessed by the Savior, and to be be taught by angels? What an extraordinary experience for those little children and all present! Jesus’ feelings for children were evident when made the following statement, found in the New Testament.  “Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me.” (Mark 9:37.)
When asked who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, the Savior “called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
“And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 18:1–4) Who should we emulate to be more Christ-like?  Our children.
Written by Burke McConkie.
Click here "Third Nephi 17:11-25" to read the actual account of this story from the Book of Mormon.