Can you remember the anticipation and excitement you felt as a child waiting for Christmas? You saw Christmas lights popping up around town, you heard parents whispering about gifts to come, and you counted down the days until Christmas morning would finally arrive. This nervous anticipation caused you to be on your best behavior as you yearned for Christmas day.
Before the birth of Jesus, mankind was waiting for the Messiah or promised anointed one to come and save them from their sins. Prophecies were written 200 to 1000 years before Jesus was born and the people anxiously anticipated His arrival.
They knew prophecies such as Isaiah 7:14, “All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).” Because of Micah 5:2, they knew the Christ would come from Bethlehem; “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf.” And they understood that Jesus would come through the bloodline of David from Isaiah 9:7, “His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity.”
There are over fifty predictions specifically about the Messiah’s birth which Jesus fulfilled. Peter Stoner, a professor of mathematics, helps illustrate the improbability of one man fulfilling these predictions by looking at the odds of one simply fulfilling eight prophecies. Stoner’s conservative estimate is one in 10^28. That’s 1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000! To make an even more conservative number, if you were to divide it by the estimated number of people who have lived since the time of these prophecies (88 billion) the odds decrease to “only” one in 10^17, or 1 in one hundred quadrillion.
Peter Stoner helps us understand the magnitude of this number by writing:
Suppose that we take 10^17 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 the one silver dollar that has the special mark on it. What chance would he have of getting the right one?” – Science Speaks: An Evaluation of Certain Christian Evidences
And that’s just one of eight prophesies!
These prophecies all came true through one man, Jesus. God’s plan for mankind was to send His son to save the world. As you anticipate this coming Christmas, remember the anticipation people felt for a thousand years before the coming Messiah. Set aside time to read through Luke chapters 1 and 2 to remember the coming of the promised Messiah.