Rev. Joseph M. Esper
Christians acknowledge Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior—but how can we be sure He truly is the Messiah sent by God to save the world from sin?
During Christ’s lifetime, at least 320 different prophecies about Him were fulfilled, including 35 distinct and separate predictions regarding the day of His crucifixion alone. Some of the most important prophecies are:
(1) He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). (2) He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). (3) He would be called out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1). (4) The children of Bethlehem would be slain (Jeremiah 31:15). (5) He would teach in parables (Psalm 78:2). (6) He would bring glad tidings to the poor (Isaiah 61:1-2). (7) He would be betrayed by a friend (Psalm 41:9). (8) The price of betrayal would be 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12-13). (9) He would be rejected by the Jewish leaders (Psalm 118:22). (10) His hands and feet would be pierced by nails (Psalm 22:18). (11) He would be given gall and vinegar to drink (Psalm 69:21). (12) The soldiers would cast lots for His clothes (Psalm 22:18). (13) None of His bones would be broken (Psalm 34:20). (14) He would be spat upon and scourged (Isaiah 50:6). (15) He would be forsaken by God (Psalm 22:1). (16) He would be buried with the rich (Isaiah 53:9). (17) His side would be pierced (Zechariah 12:10). (18) He would rise from the dead (Psalm 68:19). (19) He would ascend to Heaven (Psalm 16:10). (20) He would establish an everlasting Kingdom (Daniel 2:44).
Someone once calculated the odds against any eight of these prophecies being fulfilled in the lifetime of a person as 1 in one hundred quadrillion (100,000,000,000,000,000). An analogy can show how extremely unlikely, if not impossible, it is these prophecies could have been fulfilled by coincidence. If we took 100,000,000,000,000,000 silver dollars and scattered them across the state of Texas, that state would be covered to a depth of two feet. One—and only one—of these silver dollars could be marked with a red X and hidden somewhere in the vast pile. If a man parachuted out of an airplane and landed somewhere in Texas, what are the odds that the first silver dollar he picked up would be the one marked with the X? Exactly the same as the odds that merely eight of the over 300 prophecies written about Christ hundreds of years earlier would be fulfilled in His life.
It makes logical sense to believe in the saving power and mission of Jesus Christ—but mere belief isn’t enough; must we act upon it if we are to benefit from God’s grace and share in His gift of salvation (cf. Matthew 7:21-27). Moreover, the Lord doesn’t expect you to find your way to Heaven all on your own; He established the Church to help and guide you on your faith journey. If you’re not a member of a parish or faith community, pray for God’s guidance in choosing one to visit and join, and do so this weekend. It’s just like going home: the door is always open.