"The Offense Of The Cross"
January 31, 2012
For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:22-24
Tim Tebow's season as quarterback for the Denver Broncos is over.
That doesn't mean the season has closed down for his critics. One columnist from the East Coast showed his knowledge of Scripture, when he compared Tebow to the Pharisees that Jesus regularly corrected.
He contends that when the quarterback prays on the sidelines at a game, it is the same as when the Pharisees prayed on the street corners. The author went so far as to quote Jesus who said, "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell?" (Matthew 23:33).
Finally, he also maintains every time Tebow prays on the field he is sinning against Matthew 6:5. You remember the passage: "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth; they have received their reward in full."
If I read the Bible-quoting critic correctly, Christians, especially famous Christians, are free to pray as long as nobody sees them do it.
Now I have nothing against the man quoting Scripture. But I would love to hear what he does with a passage like Acts 16:25, where Paul and Silas were praying in a public prison or Acts 2:42, where the Christians prayed publicly in the temple or Acts 16:13, where Paul spoke to Lydia at the public place of prayer or ... let's just sum it up by quoting 1 Thessalonians 5:17: "Pray without ceasing."
Indeed, the writer would know nothing about Tebow's prayer if the network cameras weren't reporting his every move. To me it seems the networks, not Tim Tebow, are most concerned about him being seen.
From what I've been able to gather, Tebow doesn't wait for the cameras to show up before he prays. He just prays whether the cameras are there or not. But that's not the point.
That people are upset with a Christian man who is practicing his faith is what theologians know as the offense of the cross. It is the one offense that Christians are commanded to give.
The point is this: Tebow is a Christian American, and as far as I know, freedom of religion is one of those rights all Americans have, and it is the writer's right to not watch Tebow pray.
What is not his right is to try and twist Scripture to his purpose.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, as Christians we try, as much as possible, to live in harmony with everyone. Still, we ask for the courage, when necessary, to give the offense of the cross. This we ask in the Name of our crucified and risen Savior. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries