Today’s Reading: John 7
Not many young people would know the radio show or his iconic voice, but some years ago, 21 million Americans would tune in on their radios to hear from the most listened-to voice in America. They would hold their breath in suspense as the storyteller recounted a true story with a surprise ending. It was called The Rest of the Story, a real-life mystery Paul Harvey would share. After he revealed the shocking ending, he would say, “Now you know . . .” pause . . . “the rest of the story.” And then close with his signature broadcast ending, “Good day.”
We just hit our Paul-Harvey moment in our 260 Journey. And we find it in a parenthetical statement within a verse of John 7. The parentheses tell us the rest of the story.
Question: what do you think of when I mention the name Nicodemus?
His claim to fame was a one-on-one night conversation with Jesus and in the midst of that interaction in John 3, we hear Jesus say the most amazing sentence ever spoken in human history: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (verse 16).
Thank you, Nicodemus, for having the guts to talk to Jesus. That statement Jesus gave you has probably led more people to Jesus than any other Bible verse.
But Nicodemus is more than just that scene. People can easily be caricatured for one thing and known by only one event in their life. Nicodemus seems to get stuck in John 3 and his story goes no further. What is amazing is that Jesus’ “born again” talk never seems to come to a conclusion and we never know if it “took” with Nicodemus. Did the religious leader gain a second birth and become a follower of Jesus?
In our reading today in John 7, though, if you blink, you will miss the rest of Nicodemus’s story. It sheds light on the most famous New Testament chapter without a conclusion. Here is the amazing parentheses of John 7 and the anticipated conclusion of the iconic John 3 meeting: “Nicodemus (he who came to Him before, being one of them) said . . .” (verse 50, emphasis added).
Did you see it? He who came to Him . . .
That is John 3, the born-again-talk evening.
Then verse 50 continues, “before being one of them.”
That’s it. He is one of them. One of who? The disciples, a follower of Jesus.
Nicodemus heard the words of Jesus that night and took them to heart. Nicodemus was born again. Did it happen that night? Did it happen in John 3? We don’t know. We don’t have those facts. But it happened! We know that conversation changed that man.
I sometimes miss the parentheses in people’s lives. I have talked to people on planes and in coffee shops and in parks about Jesus and never saw anything happen. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have those parentheses. Just because it doesn’t happen in your chapter doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened at all. Who knew? And who knows if your talk with someone about Jesus touched someone. We find out about Nicodemus four chapters later, though you may not find out for four years. But always remember, God’s Word never returns void.
All I know is that Jesus shared with Nicodemus about the new birth. It changed his life. And John 7:50 says in those parentheses the results of the conversation—“he who came to Him before being one of them”—gives us all the results of that special night in John 3. Nicodemus became a follower.
Do I dare say it?
Should I say it?
Forgive me, Mr. Harvey. Now you know . . . the rest of that John 3 story. Good day.