47 (Luke 15:4-5)

At my college alma mater, the number 47 holds a special place. The first graduating class had 47 students, the school organ has 47 pipes, even the nearest freeway exit to the college is exit 47! Even a retired mathematics professor, inspired by the mystique of the number, published a tongue in cheek “proof” that all numbers are equal to 47! Some students and alumni were convinced that the number 47 hold an even more special numerical significance, far beyond the college occurrences. They cite the following examples: Jesus performed 47 miracles, the Declaration of Independence has 47 sentences, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn are located 47 degrees apart.


But it does not stop there. One alumnus of the college is  a well-known Hollywood screenwriter and wrote many television episodes of a well-known science fiction series. He deliberately inserted the number 47 into many episodes, ranging from 47 alien ships destroyed to the knowledge of 47 medical officers programmed into the emergency medical computer.  When the producer of the series was informed of this scheme, he put an end to it. Nonetheless, the number keeps reappearing with greater than expected frequency in many movies and television shows.


Whether the number 47 is wired into a grand design of Creation or intentionally planted by mischievous artists and writers, is certainly debatable. There are certain numbers that recur within the Bible with greater frequency than others. There are 3 (the Trinity), 7 (seven days of Creation), 10 (commandments), 12 (disciples), and 40 (days of the rain for the great flood)-just to list a few. Bible scholars have speculated for centuries on the significance of these numbers. Regardless of the true reason, God has clearly placed an importance upon some numbers in His Creation.


What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

Luke 15:4-5 (ESV)


I am amused by the recurrence of the number 47. But I am in awe of the number 1. Of the billions of souls who have lived and died on this earth, Jesus, the Good Shepherd, would put aside His Glory in Heaven and come to earth as a man, to redeem my life from an eternity of being lost and separated from God. My life…1 of billions. But it matters to Him.


And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’” Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Luke 15:6-7 (ESV)


Numbers are important. God loves every person who has ever lived, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to eternal life. Confess and repent of your sins and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. And the moment you do, there will be rejoicing in Heaven!


Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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