I’M A SKEPTIC. I always have been. I question things. I have a need to understand before I make big decisions.
So as a teen with a Jewish father named Mordecai and a Muslim stepfather named Mohammed, and a bunch of druggy friends who were atheists, agnostics, or thought they were God, when it came to religion I sure didn’t abandon my skepticism. I did some serious critical thinking.
When I died, common sense dictated that I wasn’t going to stand before 50 Gods and just pick the one I liked. Either there was one God or no God at all, and I needed to know.
I knew I was dirty. I was stained by my sins, and no amount of joking around or entertaining distraction could erase it. I could taste it in my darkest moments. I had broken the 10 Commandments like a neighbor’s windowpane and needed forgiveness. I needed to be clean again. (Visit http://www.needGod.com to do a self-examination quiz to see if you’re in the same boat.)
I knew I was guilty, I knew I needed forgiveness, but what is the right path to God. Who can forgive me? Jehovah, Buddha, Allah, karma, Zeus?? I had pieced together the message of Jesus Christ from two friends and Christian TV, and somehow I knew He was true. Faith came in me. But being the natural skeptic, I knew people believed in all sorts of crazy things because of a convincing, charismatic leader, peer-pressure or mob mentality, or a dozen other mental processes. So I struggled quite a bit. I wanted to intellectually “know” that I was following the true path to God.
I discovered that there are ancient supernatural prophecies about a coming Savior that reveal many specific details about Him, so when He came all who wanted the truth would be able to recognize Him.
I didn’t realize it until some years later, but when the good news of Jesus Christ was shared in the first century, in the book of Acts, they always shared about these treasured Jewish prophecies of the coming Messiah. They expected people to be skeptical, they expected there to be honest questions—their whole way of life would change if they followed Jesus (many would even die in severe persecution if they believed). In fact, God Himself wanted these prophecies heard, it’s part of the good news; He embedded them within His Holy Scriptures for truth seekers to find. These predictions are spread like breadcrumbs throughout the entire Jewish Bible to lead us to the Savior. God used these to intellectually convince me that Jesus was the truth path to God.
Let me share just two:
• Isaiah 53. The entire chapter is about the Messiah. It explains that He would be a man of suffering, who would be wounded and bruised for the sins of the people, die with criminals, and be buried in a rich man’s tomb. Not long ago I saw a YouTube video of people on the streets being asked to read this passage, and then asked who it was referring to, without mentioning where it was in the Bible. People immediately knew it was speaking of Jesus. Read the chapter, forgetting that it was written 700 years before Jesus’ birth, and see what you think. Ancient Jewish rabbis and scholars, including the Babylonian Talmud, saw Isaiah 53 as a prophecy about their Messiah.
• Daniel 9:24-26. A prophecy that predicts, 500 years before Jesus birth, the exact year the Messiah would be die for the sins of the people (right when Jesus died). It also says He would come before the destruction of the Second Temple, which happened in 70 A.D.
There are several others, but you can Google them.
Peter Stoner in his book Science Speaks determined the probability of one man fulfilling eight of the prophecies of the Old Testament for the Messiah to be 1 in 10 to the 17th power.
Try to imagine that. If we took that many silver dollars (100,000,000,000,000,000) and laid them over the State of Texas, they would cover the entire state two feet deep. Now draw a black X on one of the silver dollars, stir the whole mass thoroughly, blindfold a person, and tell him that they can travel as far as they want but they can only pick up one silver dollar and that must be the marked one. What chance would they have of picking up the right one? It would be the exact same odds of anyone fulfilling just eight of the Messianic prophecies by chance alone.
Peter Stoner then goes on to consider the possibility of any one person fulfilling 48 of the prophecies by chance. Here the odds jump to 1 in 10 to the 157th power. That number would look like this:
1 out of 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
This Christmas, I encourage you to be an honest skeptic too, and ask the hard questions, and don’t settle until you have the answers. I would love to chat anytime. Thank you for listening to a little of my spiritual journey.