Isn’t it amazing how nothing is wasted in God’s Word? Seriously, Jesus even said that, “…Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.â€ Matthew 5:18 (KJV)
Of course, ‘jots and tittles‘ are not common grammatical terms today, so I’ll just tell you that they are. They are the smallest of all alphabetical characters. In fact, so small that you might have to look twice just to make sure the tittle (especially) is even there. It’s no more than a dot.
Here it is officially: A tittle is a small distinguishing mark, such as a diacritic or the dot on a lowercase i or j. The tittle is an integral part of the glyph of i and j, but diacritic dots can appear over other letters in various languages. The tittle of i or j is omitted when a diacritic is placed in the tittle’s usual position (as Ã or j), but not when the diacritic is elsewhere (as i, ?), and traditionally not in Vietnamese.
Ok? Grammar lesson over. But what’s the point?
The point is, God’s Word is true and inspired of the Holy Spirit Himself, so everything in there is useful. There’s no wasted stuff.
Which brings me to today’s post. It’s taken from the story in John chapter 3 (where the most famous verse in the Bible is located, John 3:16).
Most people talk a little about being born again, everlasting life, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and how Jesus showed the greatest love of all in giving of himself. And well they should–those are very important truths found in that chapter. The problem is that they aren’t found until you get to about verse, well…
It all began with, Nick at Night.
That’s what led up to this. But some people blow off the first few verses when reading this chapter? So let’s just focus on two things for today. First of all, the entire conversation that leads up to the greatest, most loved verse in all of scripture is initiated by one of the most powerful and knowledgeable religious leaders on the planet–Nicodemus. Nicodemus belonged to a highly respected (yet incredibly hypocritical) group of religious leaders known as the Pharisees. As such, he was expected to have “all the answers” when it came to all things spiritual. If the common people had questions about life, the law, the afterlife, God, etc.– they would come to one of the Pharisees for answers. Whatever he would say would pretty much settle the matter.
But there was one problem. One GINORMOUS problem.
Nicodemus was fresh out of answers and he knew it! His lack of real spiritual understanding was eating him alive because he had the same fears about death and God and spiritual standing and all of that as the rest of us. He just wasn’t allowed to show it. But, the robes and the pomp and the head held high–even the disapproving gazes toward the masses, couldn’t hide the truth from the Son of God for even one instant. So it showed.
Boy did it show.
And I think Nicodemus knew it was beginning to show. And I believe he was growing more and more nervous that his secret would come out and he’d be exposed as a phony. And even though that bothered him tremendously, it paled in comparison to that question which dogged his every waking moment.
Where would he end up when his life was over?
Now, how does one so conflicted go about getting his deepest questions answered while, at the same time, casually presenting the whole thing in a minor, matter of fact kinda way?
First, he reduces the audience to the smallest possible size. In this case he was fortunate. He would only have an audience of one due to the brilliant timing of his “chance” encounter with Christ. You see, Nicodemus came to Jesus when the sun was down and the stars were out. And, more importantly, the people were in. So the setting for one of the most important conversations that ever took place was…
Nick at Night.
“Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2He came to Jesus at night.” JOHN 3:1-2B
All of that is in the very first words of the chapter and from it we can all find relief. You see, it isn’t just you who have those questions about God and eternity and heaven and Hell–It’s everyone!–from the most religious to the least.
And what did Jesus offer this incredibly religious man?
Relationship. He offered Himself.
I don’t know about you, but that’s a great relief to me! I don’t have to have it all figured out. I don’t have to develop a religious resume a mile long. I don’t have to go to church every Sunday without missing! I don’t have to practice every religious ritual known to man. None of that will do any good in getting the most important question any of us ever asks, answered. Nicodemus accomplished 2 very important things for me that great evening 2,000 years ago. He pushed past what others might think and at least he went to Jesus! Sure, he was still hiding, but he went!
And 2, He admitted that he didn’t have all the answers.
It’s a start–the beginning that eventually lead him to put his trust in Jesus. What a great night that was for Nick (although it would take him some time yet to process the simple answers Jesus gave him). He engaged the living God and he got his questions answered. And the simplest words of the entire conversation still ring true as the greatest words ever spoken for all of mankind.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. That whosoever believeth in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
I’m glad Nick snuck out that night to ask Jesus some questions.
Just some thoughts