"THE GOSPEL WE PREACH"
I. CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES. I COR. 15:3
A. The scriptures referred to here would be the Old Testament.
B. Let us look at the description of the crucifixion of Jesus as recorded in Mark's gospel and see how it compares with the scriptures.
1. 15:3 "And the chief priest accused Him of many things and He answered nothing."
a. Isaiah prophesied in 53:7
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
b. How many men do you know in history that when facing the death penalty because of false accusations, did not make any response in their defense? One in a thousand would be very conservative.
2. vs 15 "And so Pilate willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged Him to be crucified."
a. Scourging was a beating, usually of 39 stripes, with a cat-o-nine tails whip.
b. Isaiah prophesied,
But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.
c. Again in history of all the men who have lived, how many men do you know of whose backs were beaten. It was a common punishment in Rome, so again let us say, 1 in a 1000
3. vs 19 And they smote Him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped Him.
a. Again the prophet Isaiah in the above mentioned scripture speaks of their spitting in His face.
b. How many men can you think of that suffered the shame of having someone spit in their face? 1 in 100.
4. vs. 24 And when they had crucified Him, they parted His garments, casting lots upon them what every man should take.
They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
b. Can you think of any other man in history who experienced such a thing, his clothes being given to the one who won the dice game?
c. Continuing in our very conservative estimates, let us say one in 100,000, though frankly I do not know of a single other person.
5. vs 27 And with Him they crucified two thieves, the one on His right hand, and the other on His left.
a. The prophet again,
Therefore will I divide him [a portion] with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
b. Again how many do you know who were put to death, and numbered with the transgressors in their death, and made intercession for the transgressors?
c. There are three things to consider.
1. He was to be put to death. What would you say is the estimate of the ratio of men put to death? There are probably one hundred million men in the U.S. of those, how many would you estimate will be put to death? Let's stretch it and say 10,000. Of those how many will be numbered with transgressors? One in a thousand.
6. vs 29 "And they that passed by railed on Him, wagging their heads and saying, "Ah, Thou that destroyest the temple and buildest it again in three days, Save Thyself and come down from the cross."
All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, [saying],
a. They shake the head the psalmist tells us, they wagged their heads as Mark tells us as they mocked Him.
b. Let's give an estimate. 1 in 1,000.
7. vs 31,32
Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save.
Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.
a. Matthew adds
He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.
All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, [saying],
He trusted on the LORD [that] he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.
c. We see that the priest quoted almost verbatim what was prophesied, the difference could very well be just in translation of the languages.
d. How many men do you know who when being exposed to scornful laughter were taunted by the words, He trusted in the Lord to deliver Him, let Him deliver Him now. 1 in 100,000.
8. vs. 33 "And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.
a. Here we look at the remarkable prophecy of Amos.
And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord GOD, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day:
And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning of an only [son], and the end thereof as a bitter day.
b. Note the three stipulations of the prophecy.
1. The sun would go down at noon, or as Mark tells us, the ninth hour which was noon.
2. It would be on a feast day. Christ was crucified on Passover.
3. The mourning would be as for an only Son. God's only begotten Son.
c. How many days in history do you know of when it became dark at noon, on a clear day, and it was not a total eclipse?
d. The total recorded history of man goes back about 6,000 years, at 365 days to the year that is about 4,290,000 days. I do not know of any other occasion in history, so let us say that one in a million it became dark on a clear day at noon.
9. vs. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which being interpreted, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me?"
a. The 22 psalm that we read this morning began with those very words.
b. Admitting that Jesus knew well this Psalm, we will not even count it as a fulfillment of prophecy. 10. vs 36 And one ran and filled a sponge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave Him to drink.
They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
b. Let's make another estimate of how many men have been given vinegar to quench their thirst?
c. 1 in 100,000 is much too conservative, but let us let it stand. 11. vs 43-46
Joseph of Arimathaea, an honorable counselor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.
And Pilate marveled if he were already dead: and calling [unto him] the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead.
And when he knew [it] of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.
And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulcher.
a. Again the prophet Isaiah.
And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither [was any] deceit in his mouth.
b. We are told in the other gospels that Joseph of Arimathaea was a rich man.
c. Isaiah is telling us that the Messiah would be buried with the rich.
d. He also declares no real cause for His suffering and death. He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth.
e. One in a thousand.
12. vs 24 In crucifixion they nailed the prisoner to the cross through his hands and feet.
a. Again we turn to the Psalms
For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
b. Many men have had their hands pierced, and many their feet. Most boys step on nails.
c. How many both hands and feet. One in 1000.
II. HOW COULD ANYONE FULFILL SO MANY PROPHECIES OF SCRIPTURE IN JUST A FEW HOURS?
A. The prophecies were not prophecies at all but were written after the fact.
1. The critics have suggested this on many of the other prophecies especially those in the book of Daniel.
2. This cannot possibly wash on these. All of these scriptures were in common use at the time of Jesus. The Greek Septuagint was put together approximately 200 B.C. and it includes all of these passages.
B. Jesus knowing the scriptures set things up so that He might deliberately fulfill all of the scriptures. Dr. Schonfield suggested this in his book, "The Passover Plot".
1. One would be hard pressed to explain how that Jesus was able to draw the chief priest into the plot by having him say "He trusted in God to deliver Him, let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him, since He said He was the Son of God."
2. Also, how could He arrange in advance for the soldiers to cast lots for His robe, while dividing His clothes among them?
3. Also the soldier giving Him vinegar to drink when He cried "I thirst"
4. The suggestion that He could have arranged the whole thing so perfectly is preposterous, He would have to be the Son of God to do it so precisely.
III. WHAT ARE THE CHANCES THAT ONE MAN COULD FULFILL SO MANY PREDICTIONS?
A. We have sought to estimate the chance factor for each event, but as you take so many events you must compound the factors.
B. In compounding the factors of our extremely conservative estimates you come to one in 10 to the 49th power.
C. It is estimated that there are 10 to the 23rd power stars in the universe. There is an estimated 100 billion stars in our Milky Way Galaxy, there are an estimated 100 trillion galaxies in the universe. Naturally no one has counted them, it is just a guess. just to count the stars in our galaxy would take 750 years if you counted day and night at the rate of 250 per minute.
D. If you had 10 to the 49th power stars, you would have a sufficient number of stars to fill two universes.
E. What does all of this mean?
1. When Paul said that the gospel that he preached was that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, in asking someone to believe that gospel, it does not require some incredible amount of faith to believe. It would take an incredible amount of doubt not to believe.
2. In reality the only reason you would not believe, is that you have made a deliberate choice not to believe in spite of the overwhelming evidence.
F. If Christ died for your sins, that means that you do not have to face the death penalty for your sins. God has offered you a pardon if you will just but receive it. That is good news.