Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tebow, and the Sanhedrin

In the early days of Christianity, it was the disciples of Jesus who carried the torch for Jesus after his ascension. They stood and preached in the biggest arena of Jerusalem, the Temple, and they could not have been clearer about their devotion to Jesus.
Tim Tebow, quarterback for the Denver Broncos, has recently taken flak from several quarters for his outspoken testimony in favor of Jesus. Jake Plummer wishes that he would tone it down. Now, Kurt Warner, a former NFL quarterback and former outspoken witness for Jesus, has advised, "let your actions do your speaking."
I can't help but see the parallel between, on the one hand, Tebow and his quarterback advisers; and on the other hand, the disciples/apostles Peter and John before the Sanhedrin. In Acts 4:17, the Council, in their political wisdom, decided "to warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name." You've got to love the boys' answer: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19–20 NAS95)
Later, recorded in Acts 5, Peter and John are actually jailed for not following the party line. They are miraculously released from jail by an angel, go back to speaking out about Jesus, and then are once again dragged before the media. They complain, "You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching." Peter answers them, and he talks about, ... Jesus. This is how the chapter ends: “after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them. So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” (Acts 5:40–42 NAS95)
Here are a few notes for Tim Tebow, and others who would speak publicly of Jesus:
1. you are following in the steps of the apostles. They opened their mouths and spoke of Jesus. They did not merely let their actions do their talking.
2. your words will not ever be met with universal acclaim - and sometimes there may be no one in your favor at all. People's negative reaction to the testimony of Jesus is not the test of its truth or its worth and value.
3. you will probably be met with as much discouragement as encouragement from other Christians. 
4. it's likely to get harder. But for followers of Jesus, we have assurance that ultimately, it will get much, much better.

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