How important are predictions?
Many of us have been making predictions lately. We filled out the NCAA March Madness brackets predicting team winners leading to the Final Four in the men’s national championship game and ultimately to the NCAA champion. I was busted the first day.
Game 3 of the 1932 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Chicago Cubs was tied 4-4 when Babe Ruth made his legendary “called shot.” He is reported to have pointed with his bat or with his arm to the fence with a 1 strike 1 ball count on him and hit the next pitch over 500 feet for a home run. It was quite a prediction if all the details of the story are true.
Both of these “prediction” examples have some mathematical probability built into them. As I write this article, the NCAA men’s championship is yet to be decided, but many (including me) predicted Kentucky to complete a perfect season, a feat that has not been done since the Indiana Hoosiers did it in 1976. Predicting Kentucky to win the NCAA Tournament and complete a perfect season had a high mathematical probability to it.
Here’s a prediction that no one at the time would have bet on. Jesus made it in John 2:19: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews who heard him were flabbergasted, thinking Jesus was speaking about the temple in Jerusalem that had taken 46 years to build. But verse 21 indicates that Jesus was speaking about the temple of his body.
He was forecasting the time when they would kill him and he would rise from the dead three days later.
It sounded like an outrageous and unreasonable prediction, even though during his ministry Jesus had raised the dead. Jairus’ daughter became very ill and died before Jairus could get Jesus to his house, but Jesus gave his daughter back to him alive.
A military commander witnessed his servant’s life restored by the orders of Jesus.
A little, remote village of Nain was having a funeral procession one day as Jesus was passing through, and a widow whose only son had died was following the funeral procession of her son’s body to the grave site. Jesus stops the procession and raises her son back to life, giving him back to her.
Then there is Jesus’ best friend from the village of Bethany, Lazarus, whose body was already beginning to decompose and smell in the grave — yet with the loud shout from Jesus, Lazarus walks out of the family mausoleum in his grave clothes.
But skepticism abounds around Jesus predicting his own comeback from death. Security was heightened around the tomb following his execution for fear that his followers, especially his disciples, might steal the body and create the greatest hoax in history.
The truth is that Jesus’ disciples were weakened and fearful, left wandering in despair by the arrest. They had reason to believe they might be next. Their leader had been stricken, and the disciples had no plan and no purpose. There was no real threat of a grave raid and a body snatch.
The prediction of Jesus was not idle or sensationalism. The historical record of Jesus’ resurrection is laden with evidence that is to this day irrefutable.
Predictions really have an amazing significance when they come true.
The promise of life after death is something that should move anyone to get up and out of bed. If someone made a prediction that he or she would discover a cure for cancer in six months and did it, the line to get the miracle drug would be unbelievable. But isn’t the promise of eternal life by the one who said he would rise from the dead in three days, and did it, even more wonderful?
Won’t you at least give the message of the resurrection of Jesus a hearing in one of the Saturday evening or Sunday morning opportunities this weekend in one of our community churches? I predict that it could change your entire future.