If Tebow were Jesus
I found myself crying in church last week because of Tim Tebow. Yeah, I know, real manly right? What can I say, I’m an emotional person. Anyway, let’s level set a bit so that you all know where I’m coming from. I’m not a fan of the Florida Gators. My friend Chris used to tell me all kinds of great things about Tebow during his college days but I dismissed them as blatant homerism. Being surrounded by Florida fans on a daily basis grated on my naturally rebellious personality, meaning that I was one guy rooting against Tebow every week.
I didn’t hold a grudge when he came to the NFL but you can count me as someone who didn’t want my team to draft him unless it was going to be in the 3rd round as a tight end. However, as time went on I began to warm up to him. As a Christ follower I was very happy to see the way that he conducted himself. He was bold in his faith but gentle in his spirit. In particular, the way that he shared his time with young and sick people was beautiful to me and I began to develop an affection for him. I began to want for good things to happen in his life simply to reward him for his spirit.
Tebow’s 2012 season was unbelievable. Many began to toss around the word “miraculous”. I can’t say that I blame them. Unfortunately, the miracle wasn’t how good he looked but how he managed to come through in the clutch to win games after looking terrible. The miracles were things like 59 yard field goals and Marion Barber brain freezes. As the tebowing phenomenon crisscrossed the world we witnessed the birth of the most polarizing figure this side of Barack Obama. His supporters loved him like a son and espoused beliefs that he was leading the Broncos to victory with the direct intervention of God Almighty. On the other hand, his detractors hated him more and more with every victory. It seems that the primary reason was their frustration with being completely correct in their assessment of his talent but being unable to celebrate that accuracy because he was so uncouth as to keep winning when he should be losing.
Back to last Sunday. I’m standing there singing and crying because our pastor brought up Tebow during our worship time. The Broncos had lost badly to the Patriots in the playoffs the night before. Pastor Russ brought it up and talked about how easy it was to root for such a good young man. What he did next is what grabbed my attention. Where we’ve heard many people compare Tebow to Jesus, Pastor Russ contrasted him instead. I’ve always been very turned off by people who compare Tebow to Jesus. At its best it is misguided, but at its worst it is downright blasphemous.
Contrasting is different through. A contrast starts with the similarities as a baseline and then begins pointing out the differences. Tebow is wealthy, Jesus was not. Tebow is Christian, Jesus was Jewish. Jesus did not have crowds following based on a platform of athletic achievement. He had crowds following him because he healed the sick and made the blind to see and lame to walk. Jesus had crowds following him because of the wisdom of his teaching.
As I was thinking about that I began to imagine what things would be like for Tebow if he really was Jesus. I immediately had a vision of Tim Tebow beaten, bloody and hanging on a cross. I started to cry and began delving deeper into my imagination. If Tebow was like Jesus then he would have around one more year of national exposure, one more year of adulation on one side and hatred on the other.
Tebow’s detractors would be plotting ways to turn people against him and eliminate him. And they would be successful. The people would turn against him; his staunchest supporters would deny any knowledge of him. He would see it coming, he would know that it was going to happen and he would accept it anyway. He would be completely alone, and then he would be tortured. His own fans, people who had followed him from town to town would sentence him to torture and death. He would be beaten within an inch of his life, spat on and made a mockery of.
They would ask, “Where are your victories now?” “Can you produce another miracle and get out of this one?” They would taunt as they beat and cut him. Then they would parade Tim Tebow to his execution, forcing him to bear the weight of his own implement of torture. They would drive spikes through his feet and hands and hang him up with all of his weight crushing against his grievous wounds. They would leave him exposed to the heat of the sun in this sad, defiled state until his body could bear no more, and then he would die.
I stood there and imagined that fate for a simple boy who had done good things with his life and I cried. I cried because it really did happen. It didn’t happen to a good athlete with a good heart. It happened to a man who had never done anything bad to anyone except those who deserved it. It happened to a man who spent his life healing people, giving them life and teaching them how to live.
It happened to a real man who went through all of this for my sake.
And so I cried. Just like I’m crying now.
Posted on January 21, 2012, in Christian Development and tagged Barack Obama, Christianity, Denver Broncos, evangelical, Faith, Florida, Florida Gators, Jesus, NFL, Sports, Tebow, tebowing, Tim Tebow. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.