ADVENT || DAY 14 || WHAT ARE THE ODDS?
Recently at lunch my friend, Marc, taught me this game called, “What are the odds?” It’s a silly, stupid, and wonderful game. Basically, it’s “truth or dare” with all dares. One person will think of a dare like, “Hey Casey, what are the odds you will stand up on your chair in the middle of this restaurant and loudly sing Jingle Bells?” The dare could be anything like, “What are the odds you’d eat that worm out of your garden?” or “What are the odds you’d do the chicken dance at your staff Christmas party?”. This dare presents a moment for me to say the actual odds of me doing it.
For example’s sake, say I choose 1 in 50.
Both me, the dared, and the dare-er count to three and say a number randomly between whatever the odds you’ve presented, like 1 in 50. If both of us say the same number out of 50 at the same time, then I lose. I have to stand up right there, on my chair, in the middle of Red Robin and sing! If you both people say a different number, the dare shoots right back to the dare-er. Here’s the catch, the odds drop in half! So now the dare would go back to the other person 1 in 25. The “nice” thing about this game is you can’t dare someone to do something you aren’t willing to risk doing yourself!
I both hate and love this game. I actually lose at this game more than anyone else I know (which should teach me), but I’m always up for adventure and a good story. I’ve had to fill my mouth with ketchup and eat a beard hair plucked off my friend’s face because of this game! Life would be so boring without exploring the odds.
The game “What are the odds?” reminded me of something I studied in college — Biblical prophecy of Jesus between the Old and New Testaments. This subject further proved the inerrancy of the Bible and Jesus as the Savior of the world.
Many books of the Bible’s Old Testament contain passages about the Messiah – prophecies Jesus Christ fulfilled – and would describe specifics about Jesus hundreds of years before any of them actually happened. For instance, the crucifixion of Jesus was foretold by King David in Psalm 22:16-18 approximately 1,000 years before Christ was born, long before this method of execution was even practiced.
One important example of prophecy fulfilled by Jesus can be found in Micah 5:2. Micah was a prophet in the 8th century B.C. telling of God’s coming judgment on Samaria and Jerusalem due to sin. Afterward, God would give restoration and a wonderful future where the city of Bethlehem would give birth to a ruler greater than David. Micah 5:2 foretells the Messiah would be born in the city of Bethlehem.
Micah 5:2 – “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village in Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past.”
Matthew catalogued the fulfillment of this in his Gospel; most scholars believe this was written between 80-90 CE:
Matthew 2:1-6 – “Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We have seen His star as it arose, and we have come to worship Him.’ Herod was deeply disturbed by their question, as was all of Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law. ‘Where did the prophets say the Messiah would be born?’ he asked them. ‘In Bethlehem,’ they said, ‘for this is what the prophet wrote: ‘O Bethlehem of Judah, you are not just a lowly village in Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’”
This one example of two different authors with hundreds of years between them is simply astounding. Something Micah would never know on his own, but only as revealed by God. Similarly, scholars point to over 300 prophecies like this one in the Old Testament that are fulfilled in the person of Jesus.
What are the odds that one person could fulfill all of this with their life? Mathematically speaking, the odds of anyone fulfilling this amount of prophecy are staggering.
Mathematicians describe the odds of one person fulfilling just eight prophecies:
1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000
or 48 prophecies:
1 chance in 10 to the 157th power
It is the magnificent detail of these prophecies that have helped me believe, helped me understand, and helped me mark the Bible as inspired by God. Sometimes it feels like we’re betting on God, counting the odds, hoping our belief will measure up. Evidence like this is helpful and reassuring that God’s grand design and plan in and through Jesus are trustworthy and reliable.
For more study on this subject here’s a great article:
In addition, here’s a great book resource as well: