Wednesday, January 14, 2009

John 3:16

Tim Tebow is the quarterback of the national championship Florida Gators football team. He last played on January 8 against the Oklahoma Sooners. That's the game they won to become the national champs of college football. He won the Heisman award for the best college football player in 2007. Many sports commentators believe he was the best college football player this year. He is also one of the most highly profiled Christian athletes. His story has been printed in Sports Illustrated and ESPN magazine. He does missionary work in the Philippines with his family and shares his Christian faith easily in public. So, it might not surprise anyone that he wore John 3:16 under his eyes during the national championship game. Under one eye John was imprinted in his eye black and under the other eye was 3:16. Now, John 3:16 is no newcomer to sports events. For years, some guy placarded John 3:16 under field goal posts at lots of football games. Still, having watched a lot of sports played in all kinds of arenas, I have never seen an athlete wear John 3:16. In recent years, it has become common to hear Christian players reference their faith in media interviews and those of us who watch football have become used to seeing players gather for prayer on the field after games. However, Tebow's witness was different. Every time the camera closed in on him, there was John 3:16. You couldn't miss it. And it was Tebow's personal testimony. He was wearing it.

One blogger I read reported that on Google the next day John 3:16 was the number one search ( I think it settled in at #6 for the day). I am not sure what that means other than lots of people had no idea what John 3:16 means. Hopefully, some found out. But, taken out of context, what does it mean? Does the Google search indicate anything about the lack of Biblical literacy in the country. The blogger I read thought so. It is food for thought, at least. There is no doubt that there has to be a decline in Biblical literacy as the numbers of unchurched people increase. But, it is interesting to keep track of how many Biblical references you run across in news and sports reporting every day. I have been more tuned into them since I watched the football game last week. Yet, I have to wonder how many people get those references and how many people turn to Google to make some sense of them.

Like Tebow, we can choose to "wear" our witness on a shirt or a bumper sticker. I am not sure how many people will get "it" if we do. According to all the people who had to Google John 3:16, we can probably assume not many. The best witness we can give is a life lived for Christ. Living out John 3:16 beats wearing it any day.

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