If nothing else the “He Gets Us” ad from the Super Bowl accomplished one thing: It got people talking.
Perhaps the noisiest group is the one already most acquainted with the Savior — Christians themselves. (Yes, yes I know many of you are thinking “yeah, they don’t act like they know Him.” Fair enough, but they certainly know Him better than those who don’t, which seems manifestly obvious, but who knows these days.)
X is teeming with hot takes. Tik Tok’s banks spill over with commentary, and our newsroom comm channels here at The Western Journal are full of messages picking apart the ad, both positively and negatively.
The price to jump-start this discussion? Roughly $14 million for the 60-second ad if The Wall Street Journal’s to be believed.
I wasn’t sure what to think when it showed up in my living room last night, but I felt instinctively off-put. Was that my flesh or the Holy Spirit?
I’m still not sure, but today I realized why.
My pastor and hero Adrian Rogers used to say (among many, many other memorable things), “Anytime you take part of the truth and make it the whole truth, you create an untruth.”
The “He Gets Us” ad wasn’t wrong per se. But it also wasn’t complete.
It showed a picture of Jesus exemplifying for us only one of the myriad behaviors He knew we needed to see. But it was just one, and when you take any one piece of something and expand it to the point that it obscures the whole, you’re in danger of decontextualizing (at best).
What if next year He Gets Us runs another 60-second ad, this time about chasing money lenders out of God’s house? Oh the conversation that would spark.
It’s not immediately clear that Christ’s making a whip and driving out a bunch of people exploiting the devout is a less important message than the servanthood taught by foot-washing.
One criticism that would be quickly leveled at that ad is that it took a very specific action from Jesus and unfairly defined Him by it. Yes, exactly!
Capturing anyone in 60-seconds is impossible, much less the wholly God, wholly human Savior. So does that mean that we just can’t do 60-second commercials about Jesus? That doesn’t really seem right either.
Perhaps the acts of foot-washing and whip-making aren’t quite right for an ad about Jesus. Instead we need an act that captures the most of Jesus possible — and does it in just 60 seconds.
May I suggest that nothing captures Jesus better than the bloody cross of Calvary?
Nothing speaks of sin like the gruesome appearance Jesus took on as his body was beaten, gashed, and shredded. Nothing speaks of holiness like the requirement of a blood sacrifice to cleanse any imperfection — any sin. And nothing speaks of love like the only innocent man ever living agreeing to die a torturous death, so that those who were never innocent could be cleansed. It speaks of compassion, sacrifice, servanthood, divinity, holiness, and most of all unconditional love.
It’s human nature to treat Jesus almost the way we treat a Sunday lunch buffet. We look at Him and think, “I’d like some of that, a little bit of this, not too much of that, and absolutely none of those other things.” We want to pick the specific parts of Jesus that we like (and foot-washing is a lovely thing to pick), but the cross denies us the luxury of selectivity. The cross shows us Jesus’ “Love so amazing, so divine [that it] demands my soul, my life, my all.”
Next year if He Gets Us tries this again, maybe they’ll ask Mel Gibson to loan them 60 seconds of “The Passion of the Christ.” And that message would be worth a lot more than $14 million.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.