“What Think Ye of Christ?”


Elder Douglas H. Smith

My beloved brothers and sisters, I rejoice in the privilege of being with you this afternoon in another general conference session. We have unitedly come here to worship the Lord and to receive instruction and counsel from our leaders. We have much for which to be thankful, and my heart is filled with appreciation and gratitude for the rich blessings from the Lord which are mine in serving with the wonderful missionaries and members of the Church in Asia. His work is growing and prospering there as well as throughout the world.

As Jesus approached that fateful hour when he would give himself as the supreme sacrifice for all mankind, he asked those who challenged him, “What think ye of Christ?” (Matt. 22:42). I have pondered many times that searching inquiry as it applies to my life and to all of us in this time of history. I wonder, as the register of our lives is indelibly written, and from which we will be judged, what that heavenly record will say of us in this generation of time. Do we fully accept him as the only begotten Son of God sent to earth to redeem the world? King Benjamin, as Nephi recorded, so testified.

We read from Helaman:

“O remember, remember, my sons, the words which king Benjamin spake unto his people; yea, remember that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, who shall come; yea, remember that he cometh to redeem the world” (Hel. 5:9).

The Lamb of God came to earth to redeem and to teach. He taught the blessed law of love:

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. …

“Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matt. 22:37, 39).

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34).

The Holy One of Israel sought no earthly personal gain or glory. He strove only to serve his Father and to show forth eternal love to the children of God on earth.

The Messiah caused the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the diseased to be healed, the hungry to be fed. Every act of his life was one of deep inner love, compassion, kindness, and forgiveness. The poor and downtrodden continuously had his benevolence, and, as he came to the end of his mortal life, his heart was full of sympathy for those who had caused his crucifixion. He prayed to the Father, “Forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

As the dark and dreadful days in the world’s history came to pass, Jesus was betrayed, apprehended, bound, and led away captive to answer the trumped-up charges against him. They taunted him with false witnesses who came forth to challenge him. They smote him, ridiculed him, tormented him. Finally, blindfolded and scourged, he was mocked in brutish manner.

His adversaries sought to take his life. No other judgmental decree would satisfy them. They accepted full responsibility for his blood on them and their children. They led him bound before Pilate, who found in him no fault at all. Then he was taken before Herod, who likewise found nothing of which to condemn him. With envy and malice, they once again brought him before Pilate. For the third time, Pilate found no justifiable reason to declare him guilty. He offered a substitute and to set Jesus free. The hideous cries from those who feared the Son of God called forth to crucify him.

The sacrifice of the Lamb of God, so prophesied by the prophets for centuries, had come. Quietly, and without further utterance in his own defense, he gave his life as a ransom for us, that through him and by him we might have blessed immortality—to be resurrected, body and spirit united forever. He further provided the way that through obedience to his commandments and reception of the sacred ordinances, we might have eternal life. His life was evidence of his consciousness for all of his father’s children.

Again, I ask the question, “What think ye of Christ?” I bear you my solemn testimony and stand by the side of the disciple Peter who, when asked the direct and pointed question, “But whom say ye that I am?” answered, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:15–16; italics added). I witness it unto you, that he is the divine Savior of the world, the promised Messiah. I reiterate the bold utterance of the disciple, “Thou art [truly] the Christ, the Son of … God”; and I beckon to all to come unto Christ and receive the blessings of heaven which await those who will keep his commandments and endure to the end.

I certify to you that we are led by living prophets today who receive inspiration and revelation from the Lord. I further clasp hands with Joshua, who said, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve; … but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15). In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, our Savior, amen.