“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.” —Luke 2:1
In the Old Testament, there are about 365 prophecies about Jesus listed in 24 different books by 19 different authors telling us where Jesus was born, how He was born, how He would be treated by His fellow Israelites and the nature of His death, burial and resurrection. They are written in different countries and some of the most detailed prophecies about the coming of the Messiah were written 500, 800 and even 1,200 years before the time of Jesus.
One of the prophecies is found in 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, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Micah was writing about the Messiah, the One that Israel had been waiting for.
Peter Stoner and Robert Newman wrote Science Speaks to calculate the mathematical probability of eight prophecies about Christ being fulfilled and the answer is 1 in 10. Stoner and Newman likened the probability to taking 10 silver coins and marking one of them in red, mixing them and then asking a blindfolded person to pick out the coin with a red mark. Stoner and Newman conclude, “Any man who rejects Christ as the Son of God is rejecting a fact proved perhaps more absolute than any other fact in the world.”
One of the most overlooked verses of Christmas opens this devotion. Caesar Augustus was reigning in Rome when he issued this edict throughout the entire empire, causing everyone to go register in their hometown so that Rome could know how many citizens it ruled over in addition to putting a bit of tax on the people and increasing the storehouse of their supply. What makes this opening verse so amazing is that when Caesar issued this decree in Rome, Joseph and Mary heard it, then they made the 90-mile journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem through some perilous countryside and the Messiah was born in Bethlehem—all of this coordination is absolutely astounding. Unbeknownst to Caesar, he was part of God’s plan. He was serving God’s purpose so that the prophecy of Micah 5:2 would come to pass. As Christians, our faith is not based on a lack of evidence; rather, it is because of the evidence we are given that we have faith.
As we immerse in this Christmas season, may we recognize that the Jesus we celebrate is not just another figure in history, but He is the very fulfillment of all the prophecies. One would be a fool to reject the evidence.
Dear Jesus, I pray for those who reject You to come to know that the Christian faith is not based on a lack of evidence, but the evidence throughout Scripture and history proves that You are indeed the Messiah. Thank You, Lord.