Tim Tebow, John 3:16, the NFL and Jesus Christ

I don’t know anyone who hasn’t heard of the Denver phenom, Tim Tebow. His rock-star like status alone seems to have made record ratings for last Saturday’s playoff game against the New England Patriots. (Tom Brady would probably dispute that fact, seeing he threw for multiple TD’s). There is no doubt about it, Tim Tebow is pulling Christianity into the NFL. His humble demeanor, whether losing or winning, has brought new fans from Christendom into one of our most popular sports.

Often QB Tebow is seen sporting the familiar eye black tape with “John 3:16” emblazoned on them. Now, this familiar Bible reference isn’t new to the NFL. It’s usually seen plastered on a posterboard held high in the endzone by a rainbow-wigged individual. At least, that’s how I remember Monday Night Football back in the day.

An interesting poll by the Barna Group shows that Tebow is bringing back the awareness of the popular Bible verse. However, according to Barna, those of Tebow’s generation are struggling with an understanding of what his eye black means. Americans who are 18 to 27-year-olds had a lower basic understanding of the verse reference (61%) than the national average.

Overall, nearly seven out of 10 Americans (68%) were able to identify without any prompting from the interviewers that the “three” in John 3:16 refers to the chapter where the biblical reference is found. More than three out of ten adults either gave an incorrect answer (15%) or ventured no guess (17%).

I appreciate Tim Tebow’s humility, love for Christ and his unashamed stand as a Christian. I like that he is bringing awareness of Scripture back to our nation by just wearing his eye black tape during games.

Here is what I pray for our nation: come to know the Christ of John 3:16, not just the reference. Here’s the text of this popular verse:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (Joh 3:16 ESV)

This verse is not only perhaps the most popular verse in all the Bible, but it ranks high with the most precious. God loved you enough to actively move on your behalf so that you could spend an eternity with him. You, condemned in your sin, were separated from God, deserving eternal damnation. Jesus Christ became your substitute, becoming your sin, satisfying the wrath of God on your behalf, so that you might become righteous in God’s sight. Trusting in that finished work of Jesus Christ on a cross is the only way to be in the presence of the Father forever. What glorious truth is packed in these two dozen words!

Thank you, Tim, for bringing focus back to Jesus Christ!

Care to Comment? What is your opinion on athletes referencing their faith in interviews?


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