The Old Testament contains over 300 references to the Messiah that were fulfilled in Jesus. What chance did Jesus, or any other man, have of fulfilling these prophecies? The mathematical laws of probability can give us a clue.
In his book, “Evidence That Demands A Verdict”, Josh McDowell mentions the work of the mathematician, Peter Stoner, on just eight of the 300 prophecies: “We find that the chance that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies is one in ten (to the seventeenth power). That would be one in 100,000,000, 000,000,000.
In order to help us comprehend this staggering probability, Stoner illustrates it by supposing that we take ten (seventeenth power) silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that This is the right one.
What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man. (Evidence That Demands A Verdict, Josh McDowell)
Pretty remarkable, yet it pails in comparison to the importance placed on what Jesus came to fulfill. Yes, a part of His coming was to fulfill prophesy, but the vast majority of His purpose on earth came to fulfill His calling to set His people free from the curse of sin and death.
Isaiah prophesied about Jesus in Isaiah 57:15 saying, “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” All this He did through His Son who fulfilled His purpose by dying for us.
In so doing, Jesus was the fulfillment of salvation, the realization of the law and the completion of righteousness. By doing what His Father sent Him to do, He accomplished all that we could not. By being obedient to His father’s request, He championed our sanctification and made us worthy of redemption.
The Apostle Peter, in His second letter (1:2-4) spoke of Christ’s fulfillment and what it means to us, His beloved, “May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”
Because Christ accomplished what He came to do, we have hope built by grace upon grace upon grace. Yet this message gets lost in ignorance because very few people truly know all that Christ came to do. Because of this, even many Christians have little knowledge of what is expected of us in return.
Priest, professor, writer and theologian Henri Nouwen said, “[Most people] act as if they were simply dropped down in creation and have to entertain [them] selves until [they] die. But we [Christians] were sent into the world by God, just as Jesus was. Each of us has a mission in life. Jesus prays to his Father for his followers, saying, “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” We seldom fully realize that we are sent to fulfill God-given tasks.”
Jesus was sent to the world to fulfill the desires of His Father and He did so with perfection. We too have been sent with a purpose and, though it can’t help but lack the same perfection, it is guided by the same Holy Spirit.
But we must be willing to fulfill what we have been sent to do by using the gifts God has given us to continue the work His Son has started. We must be open to the task of being His hands, feet and mouthpieces to the world. In so doing, we follow the example of Christ as we fulfill our mission. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, forgive us for living in ignorance and darkness. Open our eyes as to the ways we might all fulfill our purpose as Your only Son did before us. Lead us to opportunities to use the gifts you have given us to open the eyes of the lost. Amen.