Tebow mania finally grounded to a halt yesterday and really it should come to no one’s surprise that not only did New England win but in such overwhelming fashion for a number of reasons.
Purely from a football point of view, Denver was no match for New England. Yes, Tom Brady is good, but Rob Gronkowski is really the team and without him, Brady would not be half the quarterback everyone thinks he is. All year long Gronkowski has somehow not only found a way to be open but manages to elude tackles the way Tim Tebow managed all those 4th quarter comebacks.
But in reality, the hysteria over Tebow is much less about football and much more about his Christian faith. Many think he is over-the-top but if there is any fault to be laid here, none of it belongs on Tebow. Taking a knee, or Tebowing as it is now called, on the field is no different than the actions of what many NFL players do, but in Tebow’s case camera operators like to constantly show him praying. In every interview he thanks his Lord and Savior but many athletes thank God, Jesus or a combination of both after a game. So really, what’s the big deal?
Tebow is a genuine Christian. His faith moves mountains. His faith is also first and foremost in his life and comes way ahead of football. His platform, to share the message of Christ, is on the football field and he has taken advantage of that opportunity in a way I have never seen before. Additionally, prior to every game he has a “special guest” that he welcomes to the game and tries to make a difference in that person’s life. He knows he is blessed and clearly understands his role in this life. Tebow said one reason he meets with his guests is to keep the game in perspective.
I have little doubt that many Christians have tuned to the world of football because of Tebow. For weeks, the media has debated whether or not God truly has His hand in the outcome of games because of Tebow’s miraculous comebacks and the fact that he us such a terrible player there is no other explanation for his success. This debate grew to levels never before seen in this country last week after Denver beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In that game Tebow threw for 316 yards and 31.6 yards per pass, the Steelers held the ball for 31:06 minutes and 31.6 million people watched the end of the game. The numbers are important because Tebow used to highlight John 3:16 in his black eye paint in college. John 3:16 is more or less the log line or nutgraph of Christianity. I am not a mathematician but I have to wonder what the odds are that the 316 numbers showed up so prominently in last week’s game.
Was it divine intervention? Quite possibly yes. And, so was yesterday’s game. While on paper, the outcome of yesterday’s game was a no brainer, but for those of us rooting for Tebow why would God not show His hand again? In many respects He did.
Football is a game. Last week, John 3:16 was in the national spotlight. The verse was Googled, Yahooed and Binged likely more times in the history of the internet thanks to Tebow’s dedication to his faith and a little bit of divine intervention. Does God care about the outcome of football games? Probably not but he can certainly use the platform and those He has placed in it to get His message across. And Tebow’s continued success was perhaps getting in the way of the message. This wasn’t Tebow’s fault. The media as usual took something pure and used it for profit and gain.
Matthew 21:12 says “Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who were selling doves.”
Today no one is really talking about Tim Tebow. What happened yesterday was more or less a matter of time and now that his story has been wringed out for all it’s worth the media and the rest of the country is moving on to more important things – like football. And for many people it’s football without Tebow. Quite simply, Jesus overturned the tables of those buying and selling Tim Tebow’s story. His story.
Tebow is being used by God like no other person I have seen in my life. His career may be over. He may never enjoy a run like he did this year but in the end it won’t matter because football does not matter. Records do not matter. Maybe the pundits are right; Tebow cannot play and will never play NFL football. And, if he fumbles and flounders next year it won’t take long for him to replaced, reduced to a backup role and eventually be an afterthought.
But even if for just one week, the unthinkable happened. John 3:16 was in the national spotlight and when it’s all said and done Tebow accomplished far more than Tom Brady ever did yesterday with his record half and accomplished far more than this year’s eventual Super Bowl champion.
For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts
- Isaiah 55:8-9