By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) – When quarterback Tim Tebow threw an 80-yard touchdown pass Sunday to secure an overtime victory for his Denver Broncos over the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers, some saw a biblical connection.
The completion gave Tebow, an outspoken evangelical Christian whose penchant for last-minute heroics have given him a reputation as a miracle worker, 316 passing yards for the game. His ten completions averaged 31.6 yards a piece.
Those figures inspired plenty of conversation and debate about a connection some saw to one of the most famous verses in the Bible, John 3:16.
The New Testament verse is held up by Christians around the globe because it neatly summarizes some key points of Christianity: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whosoever believes in him would not perish but have eternal life." (NIV)
In the third chapter in the Gospel of John, Jesus is having a late night discussion with a Pharisee, one of the Jewish teachers of the law, named Nicodemus. The chapter is also where the expression "born again" originates.
Jesus tells Nicodemus: "...no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again." In his longer explanation of that idea, Jesus gets to the core of his message in verse 3:16.
The verse is popular with Christians looking to share their faith because it's short and information-packed: God loves humankind, man has sinned and is destined for eternal punishment, but eternal live awaits all who believe in God's son, Jesus.
John 3:16 also has a long history with football and pop culture.
During last year's Super Bowl, the Fixed Point Foundation, which promotes Christianity in the public square, tried to buy an advertisement pushing people to a website to learn about John 3:16 but the ad was was rejected.
The spot showed people watching a football game noticing the phrase John 3:16 on a player's eye black - a sticker or grease that players wear under the eyes to reduce glare from the sun. A man in the ad says he's going to look up the verse, while the ad directed viewers to www.lookup316.com.
At the time, Fixed Point Executive Director Larry Taunton told CNN that Fox Sports said it rejected his commercial because it contained "religious doctrine," though Taunton said the ad avoided featuring the actual words of the verse.
“Increasingly religion and Christianity is treated like smoking – you can do it but only in designated areas,” Taunton said. “They were saying there’s no place for (faith) in the public square. There’s a place for the soft core porn of Go-Daddy, violent movie trailers, and irresponsible drinking, but not for faith."
As a workaround, the Fixed Point Foundation ran its ad on Fox stations locally in Birmingham, Alabama and Washington, DC during the Super Bowl.
Tebow wore Bible verses on his eye black when he quarterbacked the Florida Gators in college. In the 2009 BCS championship game, he wrote John 3:16 on his eye black. After he left college football for the NFL in 2010, the NCAA banned players from writing on their eye black, which some have called the "Tebow rule."
John 3:16 came into the pop culture view in the late 1970s and early 1980s at sporting events, when a man named Rollen Stewart would don a rainbow colored afro wig and a John 3:16 T-shirt. He was especially good at getting himself in front of the cameras at sporting and big cultural events, including the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.
Stewart grew increasingly fanatical about his crusade. In 1992 he took a maid hostage with a loaded gun at a Los Angeles hotel, demanding a national press conference to proclaim his new message that the end of the world was near.
He plastered John 3:16 on hotel windows. CNN reported at the time that it took a SWAT team nine hours to free the woman.
At his sentencing hearing Stewart had to be removed from court when he would not let the judge speak. As deputies were dragging him out of the courtroom he screamed, "Don't take me out, I said. God sends love to the world. Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they're doing. They know not what they're doing, Lord."
That last phrase is also biblical, attributed to Jesus while he was praying for his executioners as he hung on the cross.
Stewart was convicted and sent to prison in 1993 on three counts of hostage taking and is currently serving three life sentences at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, California.
Despite Stewart's story, many sports fans continue the tradition of evangelizing at sports games by holding up John 3:16 on placards.
John 3:16 is the ultimate codification of religious intolerance. Nobody gets to Heaven unless they accept Jesus. This, of course, would include all the aborigines in Australia, Africa and China who never met a missionary. It would also include all practicing Jews, Buddhists, Krishnas, Taoists and, of course, atheists.
Why do you make comments without knowing the facts. If you have been given the opportunity to know Christ and deny Him, as the Bible says He, Christ will deny you in front of His Father in Heaven, meaning you go to Hell. If you are living in the Amazon and never heard of Jesus, as the Bible teaches you will be judged by your concience. A Jew will be judged according to the 10 Commandments and other related commandments given to Moses, which was so hard to keep and to get saved by. Please get your facts straight before passing judgement.
the Jews had been looking for the son of God to come I never tghhuot the Jews were looking for the son of God and hence in time to come when Jesus came rejected him because he said he was the son of God and the concept of God having a son was new to them. Thanks for a interesting read
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whosoever believes in him would not perish but have eternal life."
Translation: For God so loved the world and wanted to forgive people of their sins (who he created to be sinful by nature) that he sent his only son to be tortured to death (rather than just forgiving them, which he was apparently incapable of doing without human sacrifice) so that he wouldn't have to send the sinners to be tortured for eternity.
Even if the Christian god had any evidence supporting him, I still wouldn't worship such a sadistic jerk.
I am no Bible thumper, but I think you're missing the entire point of the crucifixion. It is, actually, a remarkably elegant formula which makes perfect sense. Someone who is perfect and is incapable of error cannot judge imperfection. In other words, God can't judge humanity, with all its flaws and weaknesses, because God has no flaws or weaknesses. Basically, you can't judge anybody unless you've walked in their shoes and remained pure. SO..... God sent His only son, or himself incarnate, to live a perfect. Only THEN could God judge humanity. SO,... He didn't really send His son to be tortured. It was an act of reconciling His perfection with Man's imperfection. And, it is by that act or reconciliation that the death of His son enables Him to forgive our transgressions. Again, I am no Bible scholar or 'on fire believer'. It's just what I learned in Sunday school.
I often wonder if the crucifixion as written about in the bible was necessary only because humans need some sort of event to refer back to in order to validate forgiveness. It seems to me that an all-powerful God wouldn't need a sacrifice of anything for any reason which leads me to think that the entire thing was a display for humans. Not an empty display but one with a purpose.
JohnRJ08, May I add....we can be reconciled with God because when Jesus died on the cross, and innocent man, the lamb of God, perfect without spot, He paid in full the price for the sins of the world. "For the wages of sin is death" Jesus paid the wages of sin, death, for all mankind.
The crucifixion of Christ is not just written about in the Bible. It was written about by Roman historians of the time. Read Joesphus. He didn't even like christians from what I've read so he had no reason to write anything except for what he witnessed. Other things are written in Roman writings such as the martrdom of the apostles.
The apostles were Jews. I can't believe that after Jesus died the apostles, and many men and women disciples that walked with Jesus would have willing gone to such horrible deaths unless they had witnessed Christ in such a way that they were completely convinced of who He was and that what He said was true.
All this fascination with Tebow is revolting. He's just another unintelligent NFL player.
For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son......
so God had to sacrifice Himself to Himself to create a loophole for a rule He created.......that makes no sense.
God loves his son, and Jesus loved us so much he sacrificed himself for our sins...he just wanted us to see how much he loves us and to have faith in him :( too bad that is something many people take for granted.... from experience, life is much sweeter when you have God in it, without him there is no life really
Perhaps for you Fabiola, but I enjoy my life. I came to the conclusion that religion stunts individual growth and progress. I live my life according to my own will and I always will. I try to be as good a person as I can based on my own thoughts, not because I'm told or because I'm afraid of what happens after death.
For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son...... Of course, that was after he DROWNED everybody that on time.
What's your point? Are you implying that LOVE and JUDGMENT are somehow irreconcilable? There is another judgment coming. Matthew 7 says "Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and MANY enter through it." I suspect that number will be even larger than that of the Flood recorded in Genesis. But how does that undermine the truth of God's love? He has provided the means for us to escape judgment – his own Son (who was judged in our place). To suggest that Jesus' sacrifice was somehow insufficient is to reject God's provision. I pray that your eyes would be opened to see just how much He really loves you (in spite of you). I don't that say these things because I'm anything special or particularly spiritual or anything deserving of His grace. I say these things because I'm in the same boat as you – someone who is facing JUDGMENT. Someone who is guilty of offending holy and righteous God. Someone who is undeserving of Heaven. And someone who God has passionately loved every single day of my life (in spite of myself).
Dude- get a clue and read the bible b4 you make everyone else aware of your ignorance...
Joe- stop and consider the fact that you were just at least 500 years off between the flooding and cruixfiction... unlike the way you are making it sound. God didn't flood the Earth in 40 days and then His son died on the 41st day or the following week...
If God was planning to send Jesus all along, then why didn't he just send Jesus during the time of Noah?
Perhaps your God ENJOYED watching the young mothers claw at the side the ark while they clutched their infants.
Perhaps your God RELISHED the sound of children crying as they clung to debris for days after their parents drowned before their eyes.
Sorry. I have morals. Your God does not.
Albert Einstein: God is a Product of Human Weakness
The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.
if this being is omnipotent, then every occurrence, including every human action, every human thought, and every human feeling and aspiration is also His work; how is it possible to think of holding men responsible for their deeds and thoughts before such an almighty Being? In giving out punishment and rewards He would to a certain extent be passing judgment on Himself. How can this be combined with the goodness and righteousness ascribed to Him?
"In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views."
Good one Jon.
@ ALBERT – That's why Jesus said 'unless you become like one of these (pointing to little children), you will never inherit the kingdom of heaven.
God created everything and knows everything. He knows the end while still at the begining. However, that didn't prevent Him from giving us free will to choose right over wrong, to choose Him over the devil, to choose to believe Him and not rejecting Him. That's why you and I are so special, we have free will. He didn't want to create robots that He could control and move about as He willed. Although, He already knows what our choices will be before we make them, He will not interfere. Christianity is choosing to follow God and His Son Christ.
a significant question in a presidential campaign
To take an ex-wife and make it, two days before the primary
Tebow prayed HARD, but still got blow out by Tom Brady (an atheist). LOL!!!!
Sorry to burst the bubble that is your brain, but Brady is a Catholic and had his child baptized. Not that has anything to do with Tebow, but I just thought you'd like to know, f-tard.
This seems to develop into a story of a football player, who desires personal attention by genuflecting before a false god (false Christ), and in return is being worshipped like an idol, while the country is not only morally and financially bankrupt but more importantly spiritually bankrupt.
When CNN asks the question: Explain it to me: John 3:16? it confirms their spiritual blindness and don’t know what spirit Tim Tebow is of (Luke 9:55).
The above article by Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor, is misleading in every sense. God has nothing to do with football as His Kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). This is one of the reasons Christ did not even pray for this world (John 17:9).
The whole article is silly and his references to God, evangelical Christian, Christianity and born-again are a lie and falsehood and void of any spiritual understanding. In fact he cannot understand them as they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14).Before you read our posting, it should be understood that he that is spiritual judgeth (discerneth) all things, yet he himself is judged of no man (1 Cor. 2:15).
Tim Tebow is not a follower of God and he does not know what he worships as he worships after an image of a false God. He does not understand the Gospel of Christ (1 Cor. 2:14) but rather follows after a false Christ and the spirit of this world in which there is no salvation (Matthew 24:24).
The words John 3:16 he has painted on his face, he has stolen from the Bible (John 10:1-15) and unable to understand. He was born in sin and in his natural state is separated from God and unless he repents and turns from darkness to light and from the power of Satan (whose spirit he is of) unto God (Acts 26:18), he will remain spiritually blind. God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth (John 9:31). For a better understanding who Tim Tebow worships and what it means to be a sinner, we invite you to read the articles ‘Repent’, ‘What is Sin’ and ‘Victory over Sin’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca
Tim Tebow’s talents are not God-blessed but are his natural talents that by nature he was born with through the sinful seed of his natural father (1 Peter 1:23). It has nothing to do with God. All the hype involving Tim Tebow is indicative of the state of the country and confirms the words spoken in John 3:19 how mankind prefers darkness (Satan) over light (God), and also confirm the words spoken in Revelation 12:9 how this whole world has been deceived. Tim Tebow represents everything that is wrong with the United States of America and is a sad reflection how sick it is and how the people love to worship their idols and heroes in the sports and entertainment industry, that are unable to provide salvation.
It is sad but true but Sports and Entertainment is a stronghold of Satan’s divided kingdom (Matthew 10:26-28; 2 Cor. 10:4) and any reference to Jesus Christ is falsehood. Tim Tebow’s prayers are all in vain as he follows after the teachings and the doctrines of men and the principalities and powers of this world (Matthew 15:9; Eph. 6:12). Any sports figure that claims himself/herself be a Christian is a deception as they follow after a false Christ and the god of this world. Their faith does not stand in Jesus Christ but rather they do service unto them which by nature are no gods (Gal. 4:8). As a result of their spiritual blindness they do not know that they are all of the same spirit as they prefer darkness over light (John 3:19).
We will explain how the spirit of this world (Satan) has transformed himself into an angle of light and has Tim Tebow believe that he is a “so-called” Christian (2 Cor. 11:13-15) and applies to all unbelievers.
The Bible was written for the believers and they are the only ones that are able to understand it as it is spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14).
Like Tim Tebow, when you read the Bible:
– You are not the believer but the unbeliever (Romans 16:17; 2 Cor. 6:14).
– You are not the light but darkness (John 3:19; Acts 26:18).
– You are not the righteous one but the unrighteous or self-righteous (Romans 10:3).
– You are not born again but born of the corruptible seed (1 Peter 1:23).
– You are not the one that has overcome the spirit of this world but are in bondage thereof (1 John 5:4).
– You are not a child of God but a child of the devil (Acts 13:10).
– You do not have the mind of Christ but a carnal mind, which is enmity with God (Romans 8:7).
– You have not overcome the spirit of the world but you are a friend thereof, which is enmity with God (James 4:4).
All of the above Satan and the spirit of this world has accomplished through the doctrines of religion, his number one stronghold (Matthew 10:26-28; 2 Cor. 10:4).
Please study all of the scriptural references on our website as it is not us that speak but the Spirit of our Father.
For whatsoever is born of God, overcometh the world (1 John 5:4).
For a better understanding what it means to be a Christian we invite you to read the articles ‘Can Christianity or any Other Religion Save You?’ and ‘Born of God’ listed on our website.
Also, to give people a better understanding of the destructive forces (Eph. 6:12) behind the media, US Politics and the issues that divide this world, we invite you to read the article ‘CNN Belief Blog ~ Sign of the Times’.
The following is an excerpt from the article.
“On the CNN Belief Blog some people speak of the interpretation of the Word of God but as long as mankind remains separated from God, they will not be able to understand the Bible as it is spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14). The Bible specifically teaches in 2 Peter 1:20 that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.”
All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how this whole world has been deceived as confirmed by the Word of God in Revelation 12:9. The Bible is true in all things and is the discerner of every thought and the intent of the heart (Hebrews 5:12). The truth is that the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14). This is why we call all of mankind to repentance.
Seek, and ye shall find (Matthew 7:7).
CULT ALERT – AvdBerg is a TROLL on this site they are only here to spread their lies, their garbage book and their trashy website. Click the report abuse link to get rid of this TROLL!
Sorry I posted the wrong website please visit http://www.gaychristian101.com for the real truth of Christs love!
“The whole article is silly and his references to God, evangelical Christian, Christianity and born-again are a lie and falsehood and void of any spiritual understanding.”
“Tim Tebow is not a follower of God and he does not know what he worships as he worships after an image of a false God. “
“and unless he repents and turns from darkness to light and from the power of Satan “
For a better understanding who Tim Tebow worships and what it means to be a sinne”
LIE – with a sales pitch. Kettle meet pot, pot meet kettle.
“It has nothing to do with God. All the hype involving Tim Tebow is indicative of the state of the country”
“Tim Tebow represents everything that is wrong with the United States of America and is a sad reflection how sick it is and how the people love to worship their idols and heroes in the sports and entertainment industry, that are unable to provide salvation.”
“It is sad but true but Sports and Entertainment is a stronghold of Satan’s divided kingdom”
"Any sports figure that claims himself/herself be a Christian is a deception as they follow after a false Christ and the god of this world”
“We will explain how the spirit of this world (Satan) has transformed himself into an angle of light and has Tim Tebow believe that he is a “so-called””
freedom of speech man even if ya don't like it
AvdBerg...It seems that have a way of using the bible to turn people away from God. I know many who preach with convicting power from the Spirit of God and see souls genuinely converted and trasformed, but do so in the spirit of meekness and fear and not hate.
Much of what you said about the entertainment world etc is of the devil as you have pointed out, however the spirit in which you have addressed it is no better. To condemn Tebow and say he's not saved is dangerous and prideful. The disciples made the same mistake of wanting to condemn (its part of our prideful depraved heart) but The Lord rebuked them for it as we see in the following passage...
"And they did not receive him (Christ), because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." Luke 9:53-56
I think people such as yourselves who profess to be Christ's disciples need to actually behave a bit more like Christ and "speak the truth in love" Ephesians 4:15
"Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man."
The man who brought the gospel to me was always truthful...never held anything back that I needed to hear, however he really displayed the reality of Christ-likeness by his meek and gentle demeanor.
"And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth."
2 Timothy 2:24, 25
SHUT THE F UP....GOD DAM N
Jesus is not God. In John 14:28 he clearly states that "...father is greater than I". He never said "I am father and father is me" he only said "I am in father and father is in me". Knowing these facts, we can BELIEVE IN but NOT WORSHIP Jesus. God is the only one and one that we must worship. Hope this helps.
Trinity=one God, three persons, each person fully God (yes, Jesus is not the Father, you got that right)
Jesus is God. John 1:2 "In the begining was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the begining. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made." Need I say more Dan!
Ran, and if I may I will add to your post
"and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us."
Doesn't anyone at all see how dumb all this is? Tebow needs to shut up and save his own soul. I can take care of mine.
Atheists can see how dumb it is. Religious people only see what they want.
Never try to teach a christian to think, it wastes your time and annoys the christian.
You DO realize that there is no such thing as a "soul", don't you?
"Stewart grew increasingly fanatical about his crusade. In 1992 he took a maid hostage with a loaded gun at a Los Angeles hotel, demanding a national press conference to proclaim his new message that the end of the world was near."
Religion and guns. Aren't they wonderful? Thank you jesus for creating guns.
Jesus made it very clear that rich people will not go to heaven but I don't see Christians giving away their possessions to the poor. Hypocrites one and all!
That's not at all what Jesus said. He said that it would be harder for one who is rich to see the kingdom of heaven, but that doesn't mean that if you're rich you can't go to heaven. Christians should take care of the widows and orphans and help the poor, but to call all of them hypocrites is short-sighted and factually incorrect based on scripture.
Tonewalker, read the bible, don't just beat people with it.
"Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
Any one with basic logic skills should see this comparison shows rich people will not go to heaven. But religion is all about you believing you're god so have fun with your money.
You can not see it because you are blind. You ca not hear it because you are deft. We are humand tend to see and hear what we want to see or hear. I bet you that you have never been joint wit the UNESCO and see how people help hand in hand in this life. I bet you hat you have not seen many parts of this earth yet. What about the question ; do you know that something you on't know in this life?
Here is some spiritual incite to a bible verse that you can't understand because of your carnality. The eye of the needle was a small gate used at the back entrance to a fortified city. During Jesus day large cities had walls(for protection), those walls had gates. Obviously some gates were large for livestock and wagons. However, the "backdoor" to these walled cities were very small for the coming and going of pedastrians. If you were rich and rode around on a camel and decided you wanted to go in through the "eye of the needle" you had to get your camel through an opening smaller the the animal. So the only way that one could get that camel through was....and here is the spiritual lesson.....get the camel on his knees and then help him through. Did you see that...on his knees. The metaphor here is for a rich man to get to heaven he must humble himself and repent(bow the knee). A rich man has much difficulty humbling himself and I am sure that you know why.These are the spiritual discernments that one can only recieve from God by being filled with the Holy Spirit and hearing His interprtation(spiritul hearing). So that clarifies your carnal perception of this Bible verse!!!!
The story you tell about the secret gate being known as the eye of the needle is a made up story, there is nothing to support that. It is most likely made up by some rich christians who somehow want to ease their minds that they will still get to go to Heaven even though they were greedy money grubbing fu#*$ who voted republican all their miserable lives. Not all christians mind you... just the greedy money grubbing fu#*$.
Actually if you read the passage you'll notice that he says, "they who trust in riches"
"And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!" – Mark 10:23, 24.
Joseph of Arimathea was rich but Jesus called him a just man.
"When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus." –
Riches have never damned anyone but setting the heart on riches will lead people away from God
the pope, you conveniently didn't continue quoting the next couple of verses which are (mathew 19:25-26) The disciples were greatly astonished when they heard this and said, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and replied, "This is impossible for mere humans, but for God all things are possible."
Also, if you bother to read further up the verse, Jesus said this after He had asked a wealthy young man who loved God to sell all His possessions and follow Him. But the man was very sad to have been asked this and went away from Jesus. The reason Jesus asked the man to sell all His possessions was because although the man loved God and seemed to observe religious rules, his love of money and possesions were getting in the way of him truely serving God. See God will give us money but He doesn't want us to love the money He gave us more than Him. And this is the case here. Nevertheless, even here, Jesus clearly states that with God even this is possible.
I can now see what M Ghandi said about so-called Christians... he said, "I have studied long and hard about Jesus Christ, and I like him. It's your Christians who dont act christ-like that I dont like."
Interesting that everyone quotes Ghandi's statement that says, "I have studied long and hard about Jesus Christ, and I like him. It's your Christians who dont act christ-like that I dont like."
Convenient that people fail to quote Ghandi when he said, "It is a constant torture to me that I am still so far from Him
whom I know to be my very life and being. I know it is my own wretchedness and wickedness that keeps me from Him."
Ghandi understood that Christ was unique (being impeccable) and sinless but for some reason they think mere mortal sinful humans are supposed to be perfect.
This is nothing new....it was a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
And why is that interesting? Who is the pot and who is the kettle? How is pointing out that Ghandi thought that some christians were hypocrites being hypocritical?
We as humans are not perfect to think a Christian is perfect and don't make any mistakes is silly. That is why we seek God so we can be sons and daughters of him, the best we can be. From experience, I feel life is so much better with God than without him.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.