As a quarterback for the University of Florida Gators, Tim Tebow won the Heisman Trophy in 2007 as the best player in college football. In 2010, the Denver Broncos chose Tim in the first round of the NFL draft.
After the Denver Broncos started off the 2011 season with a record of one loss and four wins, Tebow took over quarterbacking the team leading them to an 8-6 season, the AFC West title and first playoff victory since 2005.
But winning isn’t everything in the NFL, because that was the last season Tim started an NFL game. Questions about his throwing ability led to Denver trading him to the New York Jets in 2012 and by 2013 he was basically out of football.
But his strong Christian faith was prominent every time he stepped on the field. The son of Baptist missionaries to the Philippines, one of Tebow’s trademarks in college was citing the Bible verse John 3:16 on the eye-black many football players put under their eye to reduce sun glare.
During one Gator game, people googled John 3:16 94 million times.
In a December 2016 interview with Harry Connick Jr. on his TV show Harry, Tim shared the amazing coincidence that occurred in Denver’s playoff victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on January 8, 2012.
As he was walking off the field, the team’s PR man ran up to Tim asking if he had heard what had just happened. Tebow unsure of what he was going on answered that the team had just won the game.
Though the NFL doesn’t allow messages in the eye-black, it was exactly three years earlier to the day (January 8, 2009), that Tim Tebow first put John 3:16 under his eyes during the college national championship.
His PR man told Tim what had just happened during the NFL game:
“No, I don’t think you realized what happened. During the game, you threw for 316 yards; your yard per rush was 3.16; your yards per completion were 31.6; the ratings for the game were 31.6, and the time of possession was 31.6.”
Amazing coincidence — perhaps — but during the Pittsburgh game, John 3:16 was googled 90 million times.
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NASV)
God is the God of coincidence because these often catch people’s attention.
In Luke 10:30-37, Jesus tells the story of the good Samaritan who thieves beat up and robbed. As he lay on the road a number of people passed him by including a priest. But it was a Samaritan (half Jews and Gentile) who the Jews despised that chose to care for the man.
But in the story, Jesus says:
31 And by chance (Greek synkyrian) a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
The phrase by chance is the Greek word ‘synkyrian.’ It is a compound word made up of ‘syn’ that means to bring together and ‘kurious’ that means “supreme in authority.”
The word translated chance or coincidence includes the idea of divine providence — God arranging circumstances to catch our attention.
Perhaps it was just a coincidence that shortly after Joseph and Mary married, Caesar Augustus issued a decree that everyone had to return to their hometown for a national census (Luke 2:1). For Joseph, that was Bethlehem, the town prophesied in the Old Testament as the birthplace of the Messiah (Micah 5:2).
Don’t ignore coincidences, God may be trying to catch your attention.