John 1:14a – The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. (NIV)
My great-niece, who has taken on a leadership position with a Christian youth organization, has recently married. What would be an appropriate wedding present? I thought of giving a few books to add to the young couple's now-combined collection of used university texts.
But what books? Gary Smalley's The Joy of Committed Love should fit. And Lee Strobel's books are so reassuring; I have been thrilled by The Case for a Creator, and other The Case for … titles.
So, with other books, I bought The Case for Christ. Its cover displays a fingerprinted open hand. I flipped into the index and saw, "Chapter 10, The Fingerprint Evidence." The chapter's title forecasts its content. Strobel, as a lettered and experienced lawyer and journalist, as well as an investigator into Christian evidences, fills out his theme: As matching fingerprints in a law case provide undeniable proof, so the life of Jesus of the New Testament provides such a match to the Old Testament's prophecies of the Messiah-to-come that there is undeniable proof that Jesus of the New Testament, who came in the early years of Century One, is the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament.
Curious, yet taking care not to mar the gift book, I delved further into the chapter. Out of the forty-eight or so fulfilled messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, Strobel chooses to mention these: Jesus' virgin birth; Jesus' Bethlehem birth-place; his descent from Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, tribe of Judah, house of David; and Jesus' resurrection and ascension. Strobel writes (page 183) that the probability of fulfillment of forty-eight messianic prophecies was one chance in a trillion, followed by the word "trillion" repeated twelve more times!
Lee Strobel includes a lengthy messianic prophecy from the Old Testament book of Isaiah, chapter 53, written more than four hundred years before Jesus Christ was born. We can compare and know that what came to pass with Jesus on earth mid the first half of Century One, poignantly matches these words which I have selected from Isaiah 53:3-12 (NIV):
- He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. …
Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted, …
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked, …
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth. …
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, …
For he bore the sins of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
May the assurance provided by many fulfilled prophecies increase our faith in our God, Who continues to make fulfillments match prophecies.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for dwelling with people and giving Yourself as our redeeming Messiah. Thank You for all the writers whom You have raised up to help dispel our unbelief. Please cause many more people, by written and spoken word, to present Your truth in such a way as to increase the faith of one another (including our relatives), and of the people of all nations of the world. Bless mightily those who present Your truth in word and deed. Amen.