Bible Reading: Matthew 26:55-75
God is not a god of uncertainty, or ambiguity. He likes for us to be firm in our faith. So, in numerous ways…He makes Himself and His will known to us. One way is through prophecy. Prophecy is simple to understand. Someone (generally a prophet from God) makes a definitive declaration about something that is going to happen in the distant future, ahead of time. It is very specific. Then, later, when that declaration is fulfilled, exactly as prophesied…it identifies that God was the One Who not only knew that it was going to happen, but caused it to happen. It wasn’t just chance, or circumstances. The consistent, complete fulfillment of these prophecies leads us to trust God. If God knows those things ahead of time so well that He can tell people that it is going to happen hundreds, and even thousands, of years ahead of time…then He can also know what is going to happen in my life. I can trust Him when He tells me what I need to do.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
I love to go on vacations. One year, when we lived in Ft. Lauderdale, FL…we went to the mountains of North Carolina. Now, remember, I grew up in Florida. The highest point in Florida is not too far from Orlando. It is called “Sugarloaf Mountain” and it rises to the incredible height of…312 feet above sea level. If each story, or level, of a building is about 10 feet high…then 312 feet would be just about equal to a 31-story building. Just to give you a little perspective…the tallest building in Florida is in Miami and it is 82 stories tall. That’s about 820 feet. So, there is a building in Florida that is over 2½ times taller than the highest point in Florida. I tell you that so you will realize that I basically grew up as a flatlander and had not had a lot of experience with “real” mountains.
So, back to North Carolina…and the mountains. We are on vacation and I am driving an RV. One of those big, boxy, cumbersome types of RV. An older RV. An RV that probably needed some work done…on the brakes…type of RV. We are near Black Mountain, NC, heading east on Highway 181. There is a stretch of about 11 miles, going downhill, that is very, very steep. Black Mountain is 2,405 feet high. Did I mention that the highest place in Florida was 312 feet high? We are heading downhill. Did I mention that I was not real sure that the brakes were good? It is so steep…that gravity is pressing my chest against the steering wheel. I’m holding onto the steering wheel so tight that my knuckles have turned white. I have shifted to a lower gear to slow the RV down. “What’s that smell? That’s a weird smell. I know what that smell is. It’s the breaks! They’re so hot that I can smell them burning up!” I start thinking, “I’ve got to do something…quick…or we’re going to go flying over the side of the mountain. That would not make the guy happy that I borrowed the RV from.” Suddenly I could hear my father’s voice in my head, “It’s not the fall that hurts…it’s the sudden stop at the bottom!” Yeah, that used to be funny. But not now. Quickly, I weigh my Options.
- I could run into the rocks on the side of the mountain. Probably not a good idea since it would possibly flip the RV and I would then be sliding down the mountain on the roof. Of course, the brakes would no longer be a problem.
- I could go flying over the cliff. We’ve already ruled that out.
- I could head for the trees in the next curve. Not good. The trees may not stop me and now we’re back to Option #2.
- I could try to make it through the curve and see what is next. I know what is next…10 more miles of downhill! No good.
Suddenly, I see a sign. What does it say? “Truck Turnout 1500 Feet.” That’s it. They knew that drivers would have problems…so they have a place for you to pull over off of the road. I think I’m going to make it. Then I see another sign…“Runaway Truck Ramp.” I guess that’s in case you don’t make the Turnout. The Runaway Truck Ramp is like a dirt road. If a driver can’t slow down enough and is losing control of his truck…when he comes to the curve in the road he just keeps going straight onto this dirt road. The dirt is real soft and the tires of the truck sink deeper and deeper…until finally, the truck comes to a safe stop. They knew all along that driving down this steep highway would cause problems for people in RVs and semi-trucks and sometimes just regular old cars. So, they put up warning signs to let you know what was coming ahead. Some of those signs were about Turnouts and Ramps. Some of those signs were about sharp turns, or falling rocks, or narrow roads. But those signs told you what was coming…ahead…before you got there.
God gave us signs that would identify what was coming ahead. Many of those signs were facts about the Messiah, the Savior that God was going to send into the world. And the person who perfectly fulfilled those signs…would be the Messiah. Now, I say perfectly…not many, not a lot, not most…but every single one perfectly. That is what the Law in the Old Testament required. The Bible calls these signs, “prophecies”.
A college professor of mathematics once gave his class an assignment. He identified 8 specific prophecies in the Old Testament about the Messiah and had his class compute the odds, the mathematical probability, that any one person could successfully fulfill all 8 of those prophecies. His students worked and worked and finally came up with the answer. There was 1 chance out of 1012 attempts that it could happen. Now, what does that mean? There was 1 chance out of 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 attempts that it could happen. He illustrated it this way. Cover all of the land on the earth, 120 feet deep, with silver dollars. Mark 1 silver dollar with a Sharpie and bury it somewhere in the silver dollars…anywhere on earth. Now, blindfold a man, have him walk wherever that he wants to on the earth, have him dig as deep as he wants to into the silver dollars, and pick up 1 silver dollar. The chance that he would pick up the silver dollar marked with the Sharpie is 1 out of 1012. Remember, those are the odds that one person would perfectly fulfill 8 specific prophecies. Get this…there are 61 prophecies about the Messiah that are mentioned over 300 times in the Old Testament. And, they were made between 500 and 1,000 years before Jesus was even born. So, there is no way that He could have possibly manipulated them and made then say what He wanted. Nope. So, stop and think…if the odds that one person could perfectly fulfill those 8 prophecies is 1 out of 1012…what are the odds that one person could perfectly fulfill all 61 prophecies? Off…the…charts!!
Why did God give these prophecies? So that there would be no doubt that Jesus is the Messiah. He perfectly, completely, totally fulfilled every single prophecy. He is the Messiah. People would see the signs, the prophecies, and know what was coming ahead…Jesus. Then…they would believe in Him as the Messiah, the Savior of the world.
Isn’t that awesome? God doesn’t want you to wonder, or be uncertain, about Jesus. You can be totally confident. You can believe in Him and trust Him with everything in your life…100%.
Love you more than bunches and bunches,