“What Think Ye of Christ?’ ‘Whom Say Ye That I Am?” Ensign, May 1979, 77
I bring you greetings from the Saints and missionaries in the British Isles, especially those in the England London Mission where my dear companion, Mary, and I are currently serving.
What a joy it is to speak as a missionary and a special witness of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in my calling as a Seventy in this great restored church. Every missionary and every member of the Church has the right—yes, even the obligation—to bear testimony of Jesus Christ to his friends, family, and neighbors in mildness and in meekness.
Every person in the world at some point in his eternal progression is one day going to have to come to the moment of truth when he must answer the question, “What think ye of Christ?” (Matt. 22:42).
Think of that. At one point in our eternal progression, each one of us is going to have to answer the question, Who is Jesus Christ? We are told that every eye shall see, every ear shall hear, and every knee shall bow, every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (see Philip. 2:10–11); “When all men shall stand to be judged of him, then shall they confess that he is God” (Mosiah 27:31; see also Rom. 14:11 and D&C 76:110).
What think ye of Christ? Whom say ye that I am?
“While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,
“Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David.”
Jesus answered them, “If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?
“And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.” (Matt. 22:41–42, 45–46.)
On another occasion the people answered Jesus, saying, “Who is this Son of man? …
“But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him.” (John 12:34, 37.)
Still yet another time Jesus asked his disciples, saying, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” (Or stated another way, whom do men say that I the Son of God am?)
“And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
“He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
“And Simon Peter [the senior member of the Twelve Apostles] answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matt. 16:13–16.)
Jesus conversed on another occasion with a woman in Samaria:
“The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. …
“The woman saith unto him [further], I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.
“Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.” (John 4:19, 25–26.)
What think ye of Christ and whom say ye that he is? Many Christians profess to follow Jesus Christ but do not know him:
“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).
Many profess to be Christians and yet do not believe that Jesus Christ is the literal Son of God, indeed, the eldest son of God the Father. Men are willing to follow some of his teachings but do not recognize the divine, eternal purpose and the significance of his life to all mankind. “What think ye of Christ?” and “Whom say ye that I am?” These were questions asked by Jesus to make men think, so that he might teach them who he was, that they might use their own free agency, come to their own conclusions and commitments, follow him, and gain a testimony that he is the Son of God, our Redeemer.
Using the sacred scriptures we can know Jesus Christ. He is more than a great teacher; he is the Messiah. He was willing to lay down his life for us; he is the only one who could, as these scriptures testify:
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
“I am the Lord thy God; and I give unto you this commandment—that no man shall come unto the Father but by me or by my word, which is my law, saith the Lord” (D&C 132:12).
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
Who is he? From the scriptures we learn more about him: First, the Light of Christ is in all men. It leads men to accept the gospel and gain a testimony of Him. It is because of the Light of Christ that all men know good from evil—the guidance of a conscience. (See Moro. 7:12–19.)
Jesus Christ is a god; he is the Jehovah of the Old Testament and the Savior of the New Testament (see Abr. 2:7–8).
Jesus Christ dwelt in the heavens with his Father, and we dwelt with them as spirit children of God the Father (see John 1:1–5).
Jesus Christ presented his Father’s eternal plan, that plan of which we are all part. We come to this earth to undergo testing for a probationary period and to have opposition in all things. Through the eternal principle of free agency, we are free to choose liberty and eternal life and return to God’s presence if we live righteous lives; or to choose captivity and spiritual death. (See Moses 4:1–4.)
Jesus Christ came to this earth, born of Mary, a mortal mother. His Father was Almighty God. (See Luke 1:26–35.)
Jesus Christ was baptized by immersion by John the Baptist, and the Holy Ghost was manifest in the “Spirit like a dove descending upon him.” And his Father spoke: “Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:10–11.)
Jesus Christ is the Redeemer, our Savior; only he with a mortal mother and an immortal Father could fulfill the Atonement and die to save all mankind. He did so of his own free will and choice (see Matt. 26:39; Mark 14:34–36; Luke 22:41–42).
Jesus Christ was resurrected and appeared to many after his resurrection (see John 20:11–18, 24–30; Luke 24:13–44). He taught us the physical characteristics of a resurrected being and told us that we could follow his example and that we would be able to progress and be like him.
Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven before the eyes of his disciples was accompanied by the promise that in like manner he would come again (see Acts 1:9–11; Mark 16:19–20; Luke 24:51–53). The second coming of Jesus Christ is nigh at hand, as the signs of the Second Coming are being fulfilled this very day.
Jesus Christ appeared with his Father and restored the same organization he established during his ministry through Joseph Smith the Prophet in these latter days. In addition to the Bible, the Book of Mormon was revealed to the world as another witness to testify of his divine calling and ministry.
Jesus Christ leads and guides his church today through revelation to a prophet, President Spencer W. Kimball, and his counselors in the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles, the same organization that he established when he was here on earth (see D&C 102:9, 23; A of F 1:9).
Jesus Christ’s admonition to “come … follow me” and “follow thou me” is the challenge that he gave to each of us (see Matt. 19:21; John 21:22). He lived in the preexistence in the spirit world; he dwelt with God his Father. He is the Son, Jesus Christ. We took a mortal body upon us. We’ll have opposition; we will taste death and be resurrected because of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He will be granted a degree of glory. We can have that same degree of glory—the celestial kingdom; if we are worthy. We can dwell once again with God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ throughout all the eternities.
There are many who will hear this message for the first time today. Ponder it carefully. Contact a member or a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If you have heard the message before and the Spirit bears witness of its truthfulness and touches your heart, come back to activity and fellowship in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If you are a young man or young woman or retired couple and the Spirit bears witness to you that you should go on a mission to declare this message to the world, make your commitment today. My mother and father went on a mission after retirement and are now the example for two sons, a daughter, eleven grandsons, and four great-grandchildren.
During this Easter season, this is my personal witness and testimony. Oh, if I had the voice and trump of an angel that I could say to all mankind that He is risen and that he lives; that he is the Son of God, the Only Begotten of the Father, the promised Messiah, our Redeemer and Savior; that he came into this world to teach the gospel by example. His divine mission is directed to you and me to come unto him and he will lead us into life eternal. Salvation is by and through his name (Acts 4:12; D&C 132:12; John 14:6), and this I say in the holy name of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, amen.