Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Why Tebow Doesn't Understand Resurrection Sunday

On Easter Sunday Tim Tebow gave an interview at Celebration Church's Easter on the Hill prayer service in Georgetown, Texas. The event drew thousands of people as Tebow talked for 20 minutes during the worship service. The NFL star discussed the role of faith in public life, his new position as NY Jets quarterback, and the need to return to America's origins as "one nation under God." Faith, football, and America: all the things you'd expect at an Easter Sunday service in Texas.

But once again the lovable Christian poster boy has abused his fame and missed the mark.

First of all, Easter Sunday is about Jesus, not Tim Tebow. This is yet another example of how Tebow does not know how to use his fame responsibly. If the kid took more than 2 minutes to think about what his appearance on Easter Sunday would do to the ethos of the worship service, he would have declined, knowing that his presence would steal the show.  And that's exactly what it did.

I can't think of anything more ironic than talking about the centrality of Jesus while usurping the spotlight from Jesus on Resurrection Sunday.  It would be funny if it weren't so sad.

There is one Sunday per year that Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. If there is one Sunday to keep absolutely clear of distractions, idols, politics, and certainly football, then it is Easter Sunday. Tebow's appearance on this high holy day is a display of his immaturity and lack of understanding. Fans of Tebow need to start expecting more from the kid instead of worshipping the ground he walks on. Likable spokespersons often depose the True King and I'm afraid that is just what happened on Sunday.

Second of all, Resurrection Sunday is not about the origins of America, it is about Christ and His future!  As if Tebow's presence wasn't enough to distract the point of Resurrection Sunday, his interview remarks emphasize the exact opposite of what Easter is about.

Easter is not about getting back to the origins of a nation under God. In fact, Easter is not about any of the earthly kingdoms or nations of this present age. Easter is about the totally new kingdom of God that has been inaugurated in the resurrection of the crucified Christ. Jesus is the "first fruits" of a whole new age. The resurrection of Jesus is not about recovering the past, it is about the presence of eternity.  To look back to anything other than the resurrection is to miss the scandal of the most important moment in Christian faith. The resurrection of Jesus is the dawning of the new creation, over which Jesus reigns as Lord and King. (For more on this listen to N.T. Wright on the resurrection, start at the 2 min. mark)

  • Easter is not about the glory days of manifest destiny, it is about Jesus and His destiny.
  • Easter is not about the founding fathers, it is about the Coming Father.
  • Easter is not about America, it is about the cosmic Lordship of Christ.

It's unfortunate the Tebow doesn't seem to understand the amount of responsibility that comes with his fame.  While I don't question his good intentions, I seriously question his maturity.  Jesus said, "To whom much is given, much is expected," and I think Tim could stand to reflect on that a bit.

See also Christian Piatt's reflection on Tebow's Easter appearance.


  1. I agree with what you wrote, but from a different perspective. On Sunday when I heard about this, I wasn't so much annoyed at Tebow, as I was at the thousands of "Christians" who were more excited to hear him speak than worship our Savior on Resurrection Sunday. I don't get why people flock to Tebow because he follows Jesus, instead of flocking to Jesus Himself. I just want to shake all of them and tell them to wake up and inform them that Tebow is an IDOL and NOT Jesus. Yes he is a great role model for young athletes, but that's it. A role model... not someone worthy of stealing Christ's spotlight on Resurrection Sunday. The blame can't be completely put on Tebow. He is just a christian athlete who has been put on a pedestal. As far as I'm aware, he doesn't have any training in ministry and probably doesn't think before he talks. The Pastor of that church should have used more sense than to bring a celebrity in just to increase his attendance. The people in attendance should not have given in to the hype and instead found a church that was worshiping Jesus, not Tebow. I think the whole situation was sad and everyone who attended was to blame. But anyway... great post. I always love to read your blog!

  2. Thanks for commenting, Jess. I agree with you about the fact that the thousands of American Christians need to be more conscious of their actions. Great insights. Peace!

  3. Josh, thank you for your comments on the intersection of faith and contemporary, public life. Solid and thoughtful reflection. Keep 'em coming!

  4. Nice post about Tebow. I'm gonna share this with anybody I come across who actually cares about this guy. I love that you're so escatalogically focused. Just think, when you're in the Interim state you'll have even more time to think on these things!

    Take care bro!