Tim Tebow, it could be argued, was the greatest college quarterback of all time. With a Heisman Trophy and two national championships, he has more hardware and jewelry than any other quarterback. The truly mind-boggling thing is, he could have won another championship and another Heisman.
When he was preparing to enter the NFL draft, there was a real chance that he would become a footnote in NFL history: a great college player who couldn’t cut it in the pros. It was said that his throwing motion was deficient, and that his tendency to tuck the ball and run would get him killed. He was battling two other quarterbacks on the roster. He did seem to fade at one point.
Then he ran onto the field to save the Denver Broncos’ season. They have now won an epic playoff game, featuring an epic winning play, launched by a new cultural icon.
No one is sure if he will develop into a premier pro passer, but for now, Tim Tebow is all the rage.
And it’s his religious faith that is front-and-center. This odd story comes at an interesting time, when folks everywhere are in dire straits. Winter is here. The economy limps along.
Yet, no matter what you think of Tebow as a person, one thing is clear: the person Jesus Christ is being discussed widely and Tebow’s “John 3:16” face paint has triggered a huge national discussion about just what the Bible verse references:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Interesting claim. The entire chapter, John 3, is a short teaching by Jesus HImself regarding how humans can be “saved,” or “born again.” Some call it being reconciled to God, and it is here that the discussion boils down to a highly personal one for anyone who broaches the subject, or thinks about it.
Jesus told the religious leaders how to be saved, and the chapter concludes with John the Baptist telling his followers that the power doesn’t come from him, a mere man of the earth, but from Jesus Himself, from above. John clearly made that distinction.
Some almost seem smitten by Tim Tebow, but I think the guy probably genuinely wants people to understand the Gospel. The spotlight is on him, because of his celebrity. But he is using his celebrity to point to the One who not only possesses all truth, but who is the key to your longing.
It’s good that the country is talking about John 3:16. We sometimes err by thinking that jungle tribes are the only ones who haven’t heard the Gospel. That isn’t true. Amazingly, the United States is full of people as uninformed as those tribes.
So in the end, Tim Tebow isn’t the big deal. But he is pointing to the Big Deal.