In the second half of this chapter, the Savior organizes the structural foundations for Gospel of Jesus Christ to be administered among the Nephite people. He calls Nephi and others and commissions them to teach and baptize those that will believe in their words.
Christ is clear and direct in his instructions to the Nephites. This clarity of instruction avoids misunderstanding and contention. (see vs. 22, 28-30)
The phrase “Having authority given me of Jesus Christ” has given me pause this morning. What is the significance of that statement? We are in fact acknowledging that Christ has authorized our performance of this ordinance. This was indeed true of the Nephite leaders who received this council. It is also true of those that are given His Priesthood today.
Yet because it comes through men acting as agents or representatives of the Savior Jesus Christ, today this truth is frequently overlooked. We have no authority in this Church except that which was given to the prophets from Jesus Christ himself. Those men acting in the office of their priesthood, extend that authority and power to others who worthily qualify for it.
No Disputations Among You
Simplicity of doctrine, unity of purpose, repetition of core teachings – these are the calling cards of the Prince of Peace. “…This is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.” Such things as contention and fighting over the correct points of doctrine. These disputations that the Savior alludes to are not recorded anywhere else in the scripture.
The Savior repeats this later in his ministering:
And I give you these commandments because of the disputations which have been among you. And blessed are ye if ye have no disputations among you.3 Nephi 18:34
Origin of the Word: Baptism
The word “Baptism” is Greek for “washing,” having reference to the ritualistic washings. This makes a lot sense now. This may explain why the word “baptism” doesn’t actually appear in the Old Testament. However the word “washing” or “wash” appears multiple times in a search result for the Old Testament.
It’s very possible that the two might have been used interchangeably, especially since washings have very close association with a remission of sins, being cleansed from sin. For example: Isaiah 1:16, “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;”