This is part 4 in my 5-part series, “I can know Jesus is A.L.I.V.E. because of ….” I have already addressed A—Apologetics, L—Lives changed, and I—It is finished. Today I want to consider the prophecies that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus supposedly fulfilled.
We have all heard about “copycat” crimes. Could the life and death of Jesus fit that? Since Jesus was born from the family line of King David, and His family really wanted the promised Messiah to finally appear, perhaps He was pushed that way. Perhaps He lived in a certain way to make it look like He was fulfilling prophecy.
Detective J. Warner Wallace wrote, “Homicide detectives are perhaps the least trusting people in the world. My own experience investigating murders has taught me to consider everyone a liar—until, at least, I have good reason to believe otherwise.”
So was Jesus a liar? Was He following some copycat script to make it merely look like He was the Messiah? Or do we have good reasons to believe He was telling the truth? Consider a couple of points—
- How could David describe a crucifixion scene in 1000 BC, since the Persians didn’t invent it until around 400 BC (see Psalm 22:12-18)?
- How could Jesus control others’ actions (i.e. Judas’ betrayal; being killed by crucifixion, not by stoning; soldiers gambling for His clothes)?
- Even His own followers—whom He would need to perpetrate the hoax—didn’t understand what He was doing (John 12:16).
Prosecutors have to present enough evidence to convince a jury that they have arrested and brought to trial the right man. One of the key terms is beyond a reasonable doubt—“a part of jury instructions in all criminal trials, in which the jurors are told that they can only find the defendant guilty if they are convinced ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ of his or her guilt.”
Let’s consider a hypothetical case that a prosecutor might present:
- multiple eyewitnesses saw a man fleeing the scene, and all of them identified the suspect in a police line-up
- the shoe prints at the crime scene were the same size and design that of the suspect was wearing when he was arrested
- prosecutors presented text messages in which the suspect threatened to do to the victim exactly what was done to the victim
- the wounds made by the weapon which was used on the victim correspond with the weapon the police found in the suspect’s car
- the blood on that weapon matched the blood of the victim
- the fingerprints on that weapon are the suspect’s fingerprints
That is the evidence. From that evidence, the jury is asked to draw inferences about the reasonableness of that suspect being the one who committed the crime.
I have listed just six pieces of evidence. How strong do you think the prosecutor’s case is? What if the jurors were presented with 50 pieces of evidence? What about 100? 200? How about 300 pieces of evidence?
Jesus fulfilled at least 300 prophecies—which were made before He was born!—in His life, death, and resurrection!
Math professor Peter Stoner calculated that the odds for just one man in history to fulfill only 8 prophecies is 1-in-1×1017. How amazing is that!? To give us a little perspective, Stoner says that 1×1017 silver dollars would cover the entire state of Texas in silver dollars two-feet thick. If just one of those silver dollars was marked, and a blindfolded man could select that one marked coin on his very first attempt, that would be about the same odds of Jesus fulfilling only 8 prophecies.
As a juror, if you weighed this evidence, do you find enough proof to “convict” Jesus?
But ultimately Jesus didn’t come just to fulfill prophecy; He came to rescue you and me from the penalty of our sin (Luke 4:16-21), and that is the best news of all!