Ac­cept the gift of God

Be­gin this new year by be­ing open-minded and read­ing God’s Word

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - RELIGION - SPE­CIAL TO THE GUARDIAN Rev. Ge­orge Power is Pas­tor Emer­i­tus with Cal­vary Church, Char­lot­te­town. A guest ser­mon runs in The Guardian ev­ery Satur­day and is pro­vided cour­tesy of Chris­tian Com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

Over the last num­ber of weeks, mil­lions of peo­ple have been run­ning to and fro, spend­ing — in many cases — money they didn’t have.

Many have also been cel­e­brat­ing some­one’s birth­day they are not sure even took place. Well, there is ev­i­dence that Je­sus Christ did ex­ist and that He is ac­tive in the lives of peo­ple to­day.

Pre­dic­tions: Un­bi­ased schol­ars have dis­cov­ered over 200 pre­dic­tions in the Old Tes­ta­ment re­lat­ing to Christ’s birth, life, death and res­ur­rec­tion. Cen­turies be­fore Je­sus was born, prophets de­clared: “For unto us a child is born, and unto us a Son is given and His name shall be called Won­der­ful, Coun­selor, The Mighty God, The Ev­er­last­ing Fa­ther, The Prince of Peace.” (Isa­iah 9:6)

Four­teen hun­dred years be­fore the in­car­na­tion, God re­vealed to Abra­ham that he would have a descen­dant and all peo­ples on earth would be blessed through Him. (Ge­n­e­sis 12:1,2) Later, God re­vealed to Abra­ham’s grand­son, Ja­cob, that the Mes­siah would come from the Tribe of Ju­dah. (Ge­n­e­sis 49:10)

Nar­row­ing it down even more: from the Tribe of Ju­dah to the fam­ily of David: the prophet, Nathan, proph­e­sied that the Mes­siah would not only be a descen­dant of David, but that He would be the Son of God. (1 Chron­i­cles 17:7-15)

Some 300 years later, Micah, the prophet is told that the Mes­siah would be born in Beth­le­hem of Judea. (Micah 5:2)

God re­vealed to th­ese prophets that He was send­ing a Saviour, a Re­deemer, a De­liv­erer.

Pre­dic­tions ful­filled: Some 700 years later, the an­gel of the Lord spoke to a man named Joseph, say­ing: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to go ahead with your mar­riage to Mary, for the child within her has been con­ceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name Him Je­sus, for He will save His peo­ple from their sins.”

“Now all this was done, that it might be ful­filled which was spo­ken of the Lord by the prophet, say­ing: “Be­hold, a vir­gin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Em­manuel, which be­ing in­ter­preted is, God with us.” (Matthew 1:20-23)

History tells us that Je­sus was born and that He lived and died and rose again, as was proph­e­sied by the prophets of old.

What are the odds of some­thing like this hap­pen­ing? Lee Strobel in his book, “The Case for Christ­mas”, quotes Louis Lapi­des, a Jew with a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in the­ol­ogy from the Dal­las Bap­tist Univer­sity and a mas­ter of di­vin­ity, as well as a mas­ter of the­ol­ogy in Old Tes­ta­ment and semitics from Tal­bot The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary. Lee in­ter­view this man and many oth­ers while search­ing for the iden­tity of the child in the manger. One of the ques­tions he asked was “whether it is pos­si­ble that Je­sus merely ful­filled the prophecies by accident; maybe he’s just one of the many through history who have co­in­ci­den­tally fit the prophetic finger­print.”

“Not a chance,” re­sponded Lapi­des. “The odds are so as­tro­nom­i­cal that they rule that out.”

Some es­ti­mated that the prob­a­bil­ity of just eight prophecies be­ing ful­filled is one chance in one hun­dred mil­lion bil­lion.

Math­e­ma­ti­cian Peter Stoner cal­cu­lated “that if you took one hun­dred mil­lion bil­lion sil­ver dol­lars they would cover the whole state of Texas (equiv­a­lent to the land mass of At­lantic Canada), to a depth of two feet. If you mark one sil­ver dol­lar and put it among them, mix them up, blind­fold a per­son and have that per­son wan­der the whole state, bend down and pick up one coin; what would be the odds he’d choose the one that had been marked? The same odds that any­one in history could have ful­filled just eight prophecies.”

Stoner also es­ti­mated that the prob­a­bil­ity of ful­fill­ing 48 prophecies was one chance in thir­teen tril­lion times a tril­lion. It is made very clear that the odds alone say it would be im­pos­si­ble for any­one to ful­fil the Old Tes­ta­ment’s more than 200 prophecies.

Lapi­des con­cluded: “Je­sus and only Je­sus, through­out all of history - man­aged to do it.”

Let me en­cour­age you to­day to call upon the One who ful­filled all 200 prophecies, making it pos­si­ble for mankind once again to have fel­low­ship with God.

As sure as the prophecies of the Old Tes­ta­ment were ful­filled in His first com­ing, so will the 300 or more prophecies be ful­filled in His sec­ond com­ing, when He comes to rule and reign here on earth.

The signs are all around us. I chal­lenge you, as we be­gin this new year, to be open-minded and read God’s Word.

Let the truth (Je­sus) set you free. (John 14:6) God gave you a gift. It is yours to re­ceive.

Ac­cept it. Open it. It’s yours. ( John 3:16)

Happy New Year.

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