“And Jesus Again Showed Himself Unto Them”

Brant Gardner

The symbolic importance of the linkage between verse 1 and 2 involves two elements: prayer and the importance of the name. The disciples are involved in prayer. As the ancient readers would surely understand, and we ought to understand, prayer after the mission of the Atoning Messiah is to be done to the father in the name of Jesus Christ. This is not an insignificant point precisely because it deals with the significance of the name in ancient societies. Because the name describes the person or thing named, it becomes a link to that person or name. There is an English phrase often used that says “speak of the devil….” This is actually an abbreviated phrase for “speak of the devil and he appears.” This is a reference to the power of the name, where calling the name has the power to command the presence of that person.

We do not know if there was any absolutely parallel belief among the Nephites, but it would be consistent with ancient populations and the context of this particular incident. Because this incident is about a name we may be confident that these Nephites would have understood the importance of the name as did Benjamin when he indicated that his people were to be called the children of Christ. (Mosiah 5:7). It therefore becomes highly symbolic that they would be calling upon the father in the name of Jesus Christ and that he appeared to them.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon