Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
For the first time in four centuries, on December 11, 1917, a Christian took control of the city of Jerusalem. The British General, Edmund Allenby, was an accomplished rider, but that day he did not ride into Jerusalem.
General Allenby walked into Jerusalem out of respect for Jesus who had, according to prophecy, ridden into that ancient city as King. Yes, Allenby, a man of faith, remembered what many people today have forgotten: he knew Jesus was THE ONE AND ONLY Savior of the world.
When anybody makes such a sweeping statement, it is expected that voices will be raised in protest. Those voices will demand, "How do you know?" or "How can you be sure?" or "What is your proof?" It is at that point all too many Christians throw up their hands and say, "Well, because that is what I was taught" or "Just because I believe it, I guess."
Then those believers are saddened to see so many doubters dismiss them and their faith as being nothing more than "opinion" or "wishful thinking." Well, Jesus' resurrection from the dead is based on things far more solid that imaginings. Indeed, the purpose of this devotion is to say there is proof that Jesus was exactly who He said He was: the Savior of the world!
Please understand, I do not wish to tread upon, nor would I dismiss, the leap of faith to which the Holy Spirit leads believers. Jesus' words "Blessed are those who believe without seeing" are still in effect (see John 20:29). That being said, like Matthew, I am glad to point to the ancient prophecies concerning Jesus and say to the doubter and the curious: the prophets offer us proof that Jesus is the Messiah.
Curious? If so, you are not alone. Mathematician Peter W. Stoner was curious too. It was that curiosity which had him calculate the odds of someone fulfilling 48 Old Testament prophecies that were made about the Messiah. Yes, there are far more prophecies that 48, but 48 is the number Dr. Stoner used.
After getting out his calculator and spending no small amount of time doing the math, Dr. Stoner came up with a number, a number which reflected the odds of one person fulfilling those 48 prophecies. Dr. Stoner's checked and rechecked calculations concluded the odds on one individual fulfilling these 48 prophecies was one in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion.
I hope you got that right because I don't want to repeat it.
That number is just another way of saying that Jesus fulfilling these prophecies was not, mathematically speaking, a possibility. The fact that Jesus did keep and complete those predictions says that He is -- beyond any mathematical shadow of a doubt -- the Son of God, the long-expected Redeemer of the world.
Now I know you probably didn't need that bit of logical information. You already believe in the Lord. But there are probably those in your acquaintance who just might profit by your sharing that statistic with them. Let them know ours is the only faith which has such prophecies; the only religion which has a Savior to fulfill them.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks the Holy Spirit has worked faith within my heart. Now I pray that He may share Your truth with those who have tried to keep Jesus locked in His tomb. May they see Your grace, love, forgiveness and salvation, which comes through faith in the risen Redeemer in whose Name I pray. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries