Sunday, November 30, 2014

How Jesus Fooled the World

Sidney Herald religion column published November 30, 2014

Messiah is a person foretold in Hebrew prophesies. The prophets spoke during more than 1000 years. Each added specifics to who Messiah would be.

To fool the world, all Jesus had to do was fulfill a few hundred prophesies. Let’s look at a sample.

Jesus was choosy about his parents, to make himself a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah and David.

He was fussy about the year he was born, the one foretold by Daniel.

He was picky about where he was born, the little town of Bethlehem, population 500-600, smaller than Culbertson. He had the Roman Empire slap on a tax at the right time to drive Joseph and Mary there when he would be delivered. That placed him among one to two dozen boys born there per year.

He hired the wise men who visited from the east through a temp agency. He ordered his own star in the sky marking his birthplace from the Sears Roebuck catalog.

A prophet said Messiah would be called out of Egypt. Another said that during his infancy, mothers all around would weep for their dead children. So Jesus enlisted King Herod, in an effort to get rid of Messiah, to kill off all baby boys up to two years old. That drove his mom and dad to flee for safety to Egypt and left mothers all around weeping.

A prophet said Messiah would be called a Nazarene. So after Herod died and the family was returning from Egypt, he talked Joseph and Mary into moving to Nazareth.

Those prophetic fulfillments already narrowed it down to Jesus being the only man in history who could be Messiah, but Jesus was an over achiever. He kept up the act through his life and even after his death.

He got Judas to betray him into death. He fixed the price of betrayal at 30 pieces of silver. He got Judas to throw down the silver pieces in the Temple. He got the Jewish leaders to use the 30 pieces to buy the potter’s field.

Since Jews executed by stoning, the Romans came in handy again. Jesus used their governor, Pontius Pilate, to execute him by crucifixion, as prophesied. Pilate was so accommodating, he executed Jesus with two thieves, and he placed Jesus between the thieves, as foretold.

The soldiers killing Jesus helped him fulfill prophesies surrounding the cross. They gambled for his clothes, offered him gall, pierced his side, and, though ordinarily they would have broken his legs with bats so he would die before the Sabbath started, oddly, they did not break his legs.

Joseph of Arimathea buried Jesus’ body in his own tomb, so Messiah, though poor, was buried among the rich.

Why believe Jesus? It’s not the best reason, but one reason is, it’s too much work not to. I don’t have the brain power to refute all these prophesies and fulfillments. This Jesus is the Messiah who has power and authority to forgive your sins, and He’s willing.

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