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May 26, 2023

What Are the Odds?

In His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies from the Old Testament.

“What is wrong with this belt?” Lynne turned to give me a quizzical look. It happens every time we go through airport security. We gather up all of our carry-on bags, jackets, dog, dog carrier, and any other miscellaneous clothing items.

We are both TSA pre-approved, and we are told we don’t have to remove our belts. But if I don’t remove my belt, it will set off the metal detector. I err on the side of caution and remove it before going through the X-ray machine.

This time I had forgotten to remove it, so I quickly pulled it off and laid it on top of my carry-on bag. At the other end of the line, we gather all of our items and I pick up my belt from the conveyer belt. Outside the security checkpoint, we grab the first bench and start reorganizing. I thread my belt through the loops to put my cellphone case back on and I can’t get this sucker to the first hole. It’s only the first day of vacation and I just cleared security and I’m already bloated!

What happened next blew my mind.

I took the belt off and looked at it and it was a brown and black reversible Levi belt, brown side out, size 34! I haven’t seen size 34 for about 40 years. Here I am sucking in my gut to get the prong into the first hole knowing that whoever got my belt walked away feeling two inches thinner when he buckled up!

I’m not a mathematician, but I think the odds of two people going through a security checkpoint at the same time with the same belt, both with the brown side out, would be astronomical.

That got me thinking about astronomical odds. In His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies from the Old Testament. Noted author Josh McDowell in his classic apologetic work Evidence That Demands a Verdict cited an interesting study done using the statistical laws of probability. The study evaluated the possibility of any one man fulfilling just eight of the 48 major prophecies to be one in 10 to the 17th power, or 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000.

He illustrated with this example. If you took that many “silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas … they will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of those silver dollars and stir up 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.” That, McDowell states, is the chance of only eight prophecies being fulfilled by one man.

I live in Texas — it’s a BIG state!

The world has this view that we Christians somehow leave our brains at the door when we get saved. I’m not a smart guy, but I have concluded that I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist (there is a book by that title that’s worth reading). Stories abound of those who sought to disprove the foundation of our faith only to embrace it when faced with the overwhelming evidence supporting it.

The Apostle Peter gives us an eyewitness account when he states that “we did not follow cleverly devised myths [‘cunningly devised fables,’ KJV] when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased’” (2 Peter 1:16-17, ESV).

In any court of law, eyewitness testimony carries the heaviest weight with a jury. Likewise, the Apostle Paul, who encountered the living Christ on the road to Damascus, gives us this declaration: “Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory” (1 Timothy 3:16, ESV).

So, the next time that someone tries to discount your faith in Jesus Christ, just know that the astronomical, out-of-this-world odds are in your favor.

What say ye, Man of Valor?

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