What is your favorite number?
It is your birth date? Anniversary? Maybe your favorite ball player’s number?
My wife doesn’t like odd numbered years as much as even ones (weird, eh?). Some choose 13 to point out they don’t believe in luck. Many in China like 8 because it sounds similar in their language to the word “prosperity.”
A television character loved 73 because it is “the 21st prime number, its mirror 37 is the 12th and its mirror 21 is the product of multiplying, hang on to your hats, 7 and 3!”
Speaking of nerds, Kevin Batman, our Treasurer at Wesleyan Headquarters, recently sent an email to his staff highlighting the number 17. He prefaced this by reminding us that he is not only our Chief Financial Officer but also our “Chief Nerd.” Of course, the fact that I get to tell people “my accountant is Batman” all the time totally makes up for his nerdiness.
The article our Chief Nerd passed on reported of Mathematics Professor David Kelly who is fascinated with the number 17. His obsession seemed obscure to me, including a bunch of things like prime numbers, Pythagoreans, Sudoku, and, of course, the locust. As Kelly was getting ready to retire, he didn’t ask for a party, and instead just requested that the speed signs on campus be changed to 17 miles per hour—which they did.
The numbers 3, 7, 12, and 40 feature prominently in scripture, but 17 has a special place most don’t know about, in fact.
Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, ruled Judah for 17 years. Noah’s ark rested on the mountains of Ararat on the 17th of the seventh month of the Jewish calendar (which is lunar-based.) And the traditional Hebrew dating for crossing the Red Sea was on the 17th of Nisan, three days after escaping Egypt.
That date in particular is a special one, because Jesus rose from the dead on the 17th of the month of Nisan (this is 3 days after Passover on the 14th).
So if you don’t have a favorite number, why not choose the number 17 for the best reason of all: Jesus rose from the dead on that day, which you can celebrate every time someone asks for your favorite number.