To me, the theme of the entire chapter is humility and charity. The 12 disciples were called as servants to serve the people.
My favorite line- the sum-up verse of the entire chapter, or even the entire Book of Mormon, is found in verse 20. The Savior Himself says: "Therefore, come unto me and be ye saved." He goes on to say, "for verily I say unto you, that except ye shall keep my commandments, which I have commanded you at this time, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven."
That says everything.
They were commanded, as are we, to come unto Him. To follow His example. To be like Him. To be obedient to all that He commands. And to do it all in humility and charity.
Peace of cake!
Or not- but that's why before He even went into the requirements for inheriting the kingdom of heaven, he made sure they had a way. He gave the Priesthood to Nephi and the 12 disciples. He taught them the proper way to baptize. And He promised them the cleansing fire of the Holy Ghost for a remission from their sins.
He knew they would make mistakes, occasionally miss the mark. He doesn't expect perfection, just that we strive for it.
When we make mistakes we don't shock Him or Father in Heaven. That's why the Atonement was performed. BUT, it's the condition of our hearts as we repent that is the key. That humility (as a little child) and charity will allow the Holy Ghost to do its work, and give us the second, third, fourth, and thousandth chance we need to qualify us for salvation.
When I read the last verse, where the Savior commands us to be perfect, I don't feel bad. It's a beautiful goal, a fantastic state of perfect righteousness that I want to obtain. It's to be finished! I'd ike to be finished some days.
We can have small moments of perfection now--if we define perfect as 'whole.' That is what the Atonement does: makes up for what we cannot do on our own. We give the Savior our hearts and intentions, and He completes us. In Him we are whole and perfect, even here in our imperfections.
It's a beautiful thing. I, in no way, claim to understand it fully, or even mostly. But, I know enough to believe it's true.
What did you do?