What Are the Odds?
by Heath Rogers

A recent sports story caught my attention. I believe it provides a good illustration of the unlikeness of one man (Jesus) fulfilling the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah by chance. The story told of an amateur golfer hitting a hole-in-one on her first ever tee. Excerpts of the story read as follows:

Unni Haskell, a 62-year-old native of Norway who moved to St. Petersburg last year from Stamford, Conn., took two months of golf lessons and decided she was ready to hit the course.

She stuck her tee in the ground, teed up a Top Flite range ball and took aim on the 100-yard first hole at Cypress Links, a nine-hole, par-3 course in St. Petersburg. Haskell swung as hard as she could with her purple Wilson ProStaff 12 degree driver. The shot went about 75 yards, avoided the bunker on the left, bounced onto the green and rolled in the hole.

First hole of her life. First swing on a course. Hole-in-one.

It is not unprecedented. A golfer in England did it in October 2008 on a 140-yard hole. And in 2006, a junior golfer from Rockford, Ill., aced the first hole she played. Still, the odds of an amateur acing any par-3 hole are roughly 12,500 to one.

It's the odds that got my attention. I am not a golfer, but I happen to know that holes-in-one are rare; and to do so on one's first ever attempt to play the game would be extremely rare. Because of this story, I now know that if I ever decide to take up the game, the odds of me hitting a hole-in-one on my first tee are one in 12,500. In other words, it is not likely to happen.

Fulfilled prophecy is one of the strongest evidences that Jesus is the Son of God. There are 332 Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament. These prophecies provide details such as where He would be born, that He would be born of a virgin, that He would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver, how He would die (His hands and feet would be pierced), and that He would be resurrected from the dead. When we apply the Law of Compound Probabilities to the odds of one person fulfilling just eight of these prophecies we learn that the odds are one in 1017 (that is the number 10 with seventeen zeroes after it!). After that, Jesus had 324 more prophecies to go (and He fulfilled every one of them)!

If we can pause to admire Ms. Haskell's unlikely hole-in-one, we can have confidence that Jesus is the divine Son of God.