Some May Claim That Such an One as Jesus of Nazareth Never Existed: As for Me and My House . . .
By Ken K. Gourdin
There is a certain strain of thought that argues that, whatever he is purported to have done or not done – whether he was a miracle worker or simply a great teacher – is beside the point because the historical evidence even for the mere existence of such a person as Jesus of Nazareth is too scant and too contradictory to be believed. See, e.g., here, last accessed December 19, 2014: http://www.sltrib.com/home/1970731-155/forget-santa-claus-virginia-was-there.
To be sure, I revere the Holy Bible. Whatever limitations skeptics might say it possesses, I value its testimony of Old Testament prophets who foretold the coming of the Lord and Savior, such as those contained in Psalms, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and especially in Isaiah: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder. And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
Further, I value the New Testament accounts of the birth, the life, the teachings, the miracles, the ministry and the example of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I believe what Peter told the Savior in answer to the latter’s question, “Whom say ye that I am?”: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matthew 16:15-16 (see vss. 13-17)).
I believe that the conversation reported in the New Testament between the Resurrected Christ and Mary, His mother, actually occurred, wherein Christ asked His grief-stricken mother, “Why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou?” And then He called her by name – “Mary” – and she replied, “Rabboni,” “Master” (See John 20:15, 16). I believe the testimony of the women recorded in Luke 24, whom the angel asked, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!” (Luke 24:5-6).
And not only do I have the testimony of Old and New Testament prophets, I have modern witnesses of the Reality and of the Divinity of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith testified in the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 76, verses 22-24 (see here, last accessed December 19, 2014: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/76.22-24?lang=eng):
22 And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!
23 For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—
24 That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.
Nor are such testimonies limited to the dawn of the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Men whom I revere as the spiritual successors of those who gave the foregoing testimony have also borne witness of the reality of the Savior. They said, “We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary. He was the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world.” (See the following address, last accessed December 19, 2014: