On Tuesday, former Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow shared his memory of the John 3:16 game, a January 8, 2012, face-off with the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first round of that year’s NFL playoffs. The game is notorious for apparent references to the famous Bible verse John 3:16, but Tebow said the miraculous statistics escaped him at the time.
“I didn’t think of John 3:16 one time during that game,” Tebow told the 2018 Passion Conference at Atlanta’s Phillips Arena. “I just went out there and tried to win a silly football game.”
On his way out to the press conference, Tebow recalled being stopped by Patrick Smyth, the PR guy. “Timmy, you don’t realize what happened,” Smyth told him. “It’s three years from the night that you wore John 3:16 under your eyes,” Tebow remembered Smyth saying. “I’m like, that’s really cool.”
“He’s like, ‘No, no, no, no, you don’t realize what happened. Timmy, during the game, you threw for 316 yards, and your yards per rush were 3.16, and your yards per completion were 31.6, and the time of possession was 31.6, and the ratings for the night were 31.6. During the game, 90 million people googled John 3:16, and so many people were on social media talking about it that it actually shut down Twitter for a while because it was getting overloaded,'” Tebow said.
The burly football (and now baseball) star continued. “I was just so humbled, and my first thought was, ‘Dang, I thought tonight was about a game. I thought it was about winning or losing. I thought it was about going to the next round of the playoffs. But the God that we serve is just so much bigger than that,'” he said.
John 3:16 is not just famous because of Tim Tebow. It is widely considered the briefest explanation of the very heart of Christianity.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
According to Christian teaching, Jesus Christ was not just any other man, but the very Son of God. John 1:1 states that the Word was in the beginning with God, and that the Word was with God and was God. According to the Apostles’ Creed, God is one being in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
According to Christian teaching God the Father sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross, paying the penalty for all human wickedness — wars, murders, thefts, lies, and every moral failing of humanity. By faith in Jesus, human beings can be redeemed and reunited with God, having eternal life.
Tebow thought the game was nothing more than a battle against the Steelers, but God used it to spread the most important message in Christianity — a message Christians consider the most important message ever.
Was it a coincidence, or was it a miracle? One more statistic about the game: During the season, Denver lost three games by an average of 16 points leading up to this playoff game. Quite a coincidence, if it was that…
Just worshiped with Tim Tebow at Passion Conference 2018 and he talked about his verse John 3:16. Also, I looked back at my phone and noticed the time I was recording was at 3:16… (watch the video and it'll make sense, I promise) all I can say is GOD IS WORKING IN OUR LIVES PPL pic.twitter.com/Cr3czdY5zw
— Anna Cooney ❁ (@annaTcooney) January 2, 2018