Last Thursday night the Florida Gator football team won the BCS National Championship game in Miami. Tim Tebow lead his Gators to victory over the Oklahoma Sooners in a game that was filled with ups and downs for each team. It is sure to be an instant classic on ESPN Classic and the memories will be remembered for a long time in Gainesville. I am also sure that because of this game, and the other acloades that preceded it, Tim Tebow will go down as one of the greatest players in College Football history.
While all of this is true, I would like to mention what I think is the most impressive and exciting thing about that night.
In what was sure to be one of the most watched Football games of the year it wasn’t a big play, a great tackle , or a miraculous catch that caught my eye, it was a small subtile gesture. To some it may have seemed inconsequential but as we look closer, the impact may be larger then Tim may have ever expected.
You see, Tim wrote on his eye black the words “John” and “3:16”. And on every closeup and every replay you saw Tebow’s face and along with his face you saw his eye black with John 3:16 in High Definition.
So whats the big deal?
Having the blessing of spending a little bit of time with the Tebow family during time in New York when Tim won the Hiesman a year ago, I learned the main purpose of the Tebow family is not so much winning the football game ,but more importantly, sharing the message of the Gospel to the world. It was interesting to see the fall out the next day in the various newspaper articles and blog post over the eye black and the message that was sent. Some were positive some were negative, in either case, it made some waves. In fact, It was so impactful that as I began to read other articles, some shared that it was so popular that the term “John 3:16” was the #1 search term on Google the day of the National Championship game! At first I was skeptical but I did my research and as you can see in the following image, which is a screen shot of the top 100 searches on Google for January 8th, 2009, sure enough, “john 3 16” is the top search.
It was also interesting that if you were to click on “john 3 16” it will show you a line graph for January 8th, 2009, and the level per hour. As you can see below once the game began around 8pm EST (5pm PST) there is a short spike, then around half time which is around 10pm EST (7pm PST) there is a max peak that occurs. This is referred to in Google’s terms as Volcanic! In other words, it became exteremly popular really quick.
So what is the point to all of this. The reason I share these details to you is to show you that it really doesn’t take much. Sure Tim Tebow was playing in one of the biggest football games of his life, but he took a small moment and added a few letters to his eye black, it didnt take much. Even those small words written in silver pen on his face was enough to get thousands and thousands of people interested in what that meant. Interested enough to search it out on Google. What did they find?
John 3:16 – 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.
For most Christians, this is well known and understood but for others it may have been the first time they read this verse.
Perhaps it may have been the first time they read that there is a God that loves them, a God that gave, in order that we may have eternal life. They may have read further in the next verse to see that God did not come into this world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved!
It may be the first time they have heard the Gospel and you know what, it really didn’t take much. Remember in our own lives, as we speak with others and serve others, that it doesn’t take much. The Gospel is simple. And as we saw with Tim, it doesn’t take much to share it with others.