Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve here… The Bible makes clear that the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is our hope. Easter is approaching… one of the best times of the year to share the Good News of the Gospel to friends and strangers. People’s cold indifference seems to melt just a bit around Easter. Their sense of distance from God seems to decrease just a little bit.
Most of us have felt distance from God at one time or another. Remember these words, “My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?”
In other words, “Why do you remain so distant? Why do you ignore my cries for help”? WHO said these words? If you said Jesus, you’re only partly right. These exact words came from King David, from Psalm 22:1 (NLT). David goes on to say in vv. 16-18:
“My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and feet. I can count every bone in my body. My enemies stare at me and gloat. They divide my clothes among themselves and throw dice for my garments.” (NLT)
If you read Matthew’s account of Jesus’ death in Matthew 27:27-57, you would think Matthew and King David were writing about the same event, but David was writing about it over 1,000 years before Matthew was born. Psalm 22:1; 16-18 is one out of 332 distinct prophecies told in the Old Testament which were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. In fact, Psalm 22:1 is also one of 26 specific prophecies concerning the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus. Twenty-six prophecies, fulfilled to the letter in just one person… coincidence you say?
Peter Stoner in his book “Science Speaks” wanted to rule out coincidence by using the science of probability. After finishing his calculations, he discovered that the chances of finding one single individual that fulfills just eight of these 26 prophecies are 1 x 1017. That’s a 1 with 17 zeros after it (100,000,000,000,000,000).
Stoner illustrated the probability of this occurrence as the same as taking 1017 silver dollars and dumping them on Texas. That many silver dollars would cover the entire area of Texas, two feet deep. Now mark only one of the silver dollars, throw it into the pile with the others, and mix them up. Blindfold a person and tell them to travel as far as they want before picking up a silver dollar. What chance does that person have of picking up the single marked silver dollar among all the rest? The same chance the prophets did of writing eight correct prophecies about Christ Jesus hundreds of years before He was even born. They had one chance in 10 to the power of 17, and that’s referring to only 8 of the 26 prophecies that were written and fulfilled through Jesus’s arrest and death on the cross.
In total, one third of the Gospel’s text describes the events that led up to Jesus’ death. This event only represents 12 hours of His life, but I suppose the amount of space dedicated to this event indicates the supreme importance of Christ’s death on the cross.
Easter is the Mount Everest of the Christian calendar. Most in our society are suffering from spiritual amnesia. They’ve forgotten that Easter is about Jesus, not the Easter bunny.
We have a big chance to get the word out over the next few weeks. I look forward to hearing your stories.
Have a blessed week,