The probability of this specific Messiah

Much is made about Jesus being the long-awaited Jewish Messiah. Messiah is a Hebrew word meaning “anointed one,” which refers to God’s chosen king and representative on the earth.

Much is also made about prophecies he has fulfilled which confirm that Jesus is in fact this Messiah. We could reference Micah 5:2: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel…” Or perhaps Isaiah 7:14: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son…” The fact that Jesus was born in Bethlehem to a virgin are two very specific examples of fulfilled prophecies.

Today I’d like to give you increasing confidence that Jesus is in fact God’s chosen king and representative on the earth.

Mathematician Peter W. Stoner calculated the probability of one person fulfilling even just eight of the ancient prophecies about the Messiah (even though there are many more) in that time and place.

The chances are one in 100,000,000,000,000,000! If you have troubled adding zeros that is one in one hundred quadrillion! 

Or, we could us this illustration. Imagine covering Texas with silver dollar coins, marking one of them, stirring them all up, and then having a blindfolded person randomly walk into the state to pick up a single coin. If the coin they just so happened to select was the one which was marked, that would be about the same probability as one person fulfilling just eight of the ancient prophecies about the Messiah.*

If I don’t trust the pilot of a plane, I’m not going to get onboard. If I don’t trust a cook, I’m not going to grab a fork. And if I don’t trust that Jesus is in fact the Messiah, then I’m not going to trust him, nor am I going to enlist in the ways he is renovating the world by bringing heaven to earth.

But if I DO trust him, I’m going to get on board.

God put all the pieces together. He did it through prophecy, history and time, so that our hearts and minds would be captivated by (and confident in) Jesus. 

Since his life made such a difference—and continues to make a difference—so can yours.


–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

–The Up Devotional is published 5 days a week (Monday-Friday) and returns on May 30, 2022.

–*What does the Hebrew Bible say about the coming Messiah” by Michael Rydelnik. In The Apologetics Study Bible (Nashville: Holman, 2017), 1122.

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