01 Dec 2016
What Child Is This?
Mani the parrot, an assistant to a fortune teller in Little India, became an international sensation after he correctly predicted all 4 winners for the quarter-finals in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The probability of rightly predicting the winner in any given game is 1 out of 2 possible outcomes. The chances of correctly predicting all 4 games are 1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2 = 1/16 or 6.25%.
Mani’s predictive accuracy was indeed impressive, but it pales greatly in comparison with how many Old Testament predictions the birth of Jesus Christ fulfilled. We do not marvel at the incredible odds involved only because it happened so long ago, and we have never seriously considered the staggering implications.
It is a well-established historical fact that the Old Testament, which is the sacred writings of the Jews, was fully compiled some 450 years before Jesus Christ was born. In other words, all those prophecies about the saviour that God would one day send were already in writing and known to many generations of Jews long before the birth of Christ.
For example, Jeremiah wrote in about 600 B.C. that he would be a descendant of King David. Isaiah, writing around 700 B.C., foretold that he would be born of a virgin. Some time before that, Micah had pinpointed the birthplace of the saviour as the little town of Bethlehem. Even further back, in Genesis (written about 1400 B.C.), Jacob said that the Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah. Since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1946, it is no longer possible for critics to dismiss these prophecies by claiming that they were written only after Jesus Christ came. The fulfilment of Old Testament prophecies in the life of Jesus provides powerful evidence that the bible is indeed divinely inspired; it is God’s word to us.
During World War II, David Greenglass was an American who gave atomic secrets to the Russians and then fled to Mexico after the war. The Russians arranged a meeting between him and the secretary of the Russian ambassador in Mexico City. How could they identify each other correctly? Greenglass was to use six pre-arranged signs. They were: (1) Greenglass was to write a note to the secretary, signing his name as “I. JACKSON”; (2) after three days he was to go to the Plaza de Colon in Mexico City and (3) stand before the statue of Columbus, (4) with his middle finger placed in a guide book. Finally, (5) when approached, he was to say it was a magnificent statue and that he was from Oklahoma. (6) The secretary would then give him a passport. These six prearranged signs worked. Why? Because with just six correlating signs it was deemed virtually impossible for the secretary not to correctly identify Greenglass as the correct person.
Bible scholars have counted at least 300 Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled by the life, death and resurrection of Christ. This is such a huge number that if all of them are correctly fulfilled, it would be irrational not to conclude that a miracle had happened. It has been calculated that the odds of you being struck by lightning on any given day are 1 in 250,000,000. In contrast, the probability that Jesus of Nazareth fulfilling even just 8 such Old Testament prophecies about him is 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000.
It is incredible to believe that a baby born 2000 years ago was actually God coming in human flesh to save us, but no more incredible than the fact that he actually fulfilled every one of those prophecies.
The real problem with Jesus Christ is not that people can’t believe in him, but that they won’t believe in him.