A Jesus who “gets us” or saves us?

By: Lisa Van Houten

This year the most controversial Super Bowl ad wasn’t put out by a beer company or laden with sexual imagery.  The most controversial ad – and with very good reason – was the “He Gets Us” ad, supposedly meant to introduce unbelievers to Jesus.

The ad, with the tagline “JESUS DIDN’T TEACH HATE.  JESUS WASHED FEET” – which you can view here – embraces the oppressed vs. oppressor intersectionality mandates of today’s woke ideology.  Christians (nearly all white, i.e. “oppressors”) are shown washing the feet of those considered oppressed by our DEI-promoting culture:  transgenders, homosexuals, minorities, illegal immigrants, Muslims, pro-abortionists, etc.  There is no picture of a minority washing the feet of a white person; no picture of a BLM protestor washing the feet of a MAGA supporter. Don’t conservatives need Christ too?  A priest is shown washing the feet of a homosexual man; a woman is shown outside of an abortion clinic washing the feet of a young woman presumably seeking an abortion – while pro-life demonstrators are shown huddled together in the background with their backs turned away, as if they’re saying: “Lord, thank you that I’m not like that sinner.”  The ad implies that the pro-life demonstrators “hate” the young woman seeking an abortion, but pro-lifers don’t hate women who get abortions – they do far, far more to serve and help them than Planned Parenthood ever did.  Christian Crisis Pregnancy Centers don’t just seek to save the baby, they care for and help the mother before and after the baby is born.

And that’s one of the many problems with the ad and its message, “Jesus didn’t teach hate” – it sends a scolding message to Christians, implying that they are the hateful, bigoted ones who don’t love lost sinners.  This ad, which comes across as progressive propaganda, seeks to shame followers of Christ for presumably not being loving toward the LGBTQ, illegal migrants, and minorities, etc., but the ad doesn’t say one word to the lost about their need for redemption and the salvation that can only be found in Christ.  As one commentator wrote: “I think the intent was to wag a finger at Christians who do not want their children sexualized, mutilated, aborted, or indoctrinated, or who stand against the myriad other serious socially driven evils in our world today and somehow paint them as the haters for not wanting to go along with it.”

The ad reinforces the woke, progressive definition of “hate” as non-affirmation. If we don’t affirm their sinful lifestyle and identity, if we tell them the truth that living a life of unrepentant sin leads to eternity in hell, we’re “haters.”  The implication of the ad is that “conservative” Christians are the ones who don’t “get” Jesus when they preach about sin and repentance because, as the ad says to the lost, “He gets us” just the way we are, we don’t need to change (repent).  But Jesus came to save people from their sins, not affirm them in their sin.

The “Jesus” of the ad tells the lost: “I get you.”  That’s it.  The real Jesus, the Jesus of the Bible says: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” He also tells each of us to repent and believe; go and sin no more; and take up your cross and follow Him.  Which Jesus do you think the culture will find more appealing? The fake “ad-Jesus” who doesn’t seem to require anything of them or the real Jesus that says, “…but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5). This ad perverts the Gospel, seeking to “re-brand” Jesus to make Him more “palatable” to unbelievers; however, putting faith in a false “Jesus” will lead to judgment, not redemption. Since New Testament times, mankind has tried to make Jesus into who we want Him to be, not who He truly is. The Apostle Paul warns in II Corinthians 11:4 of being led astray by those who proclaim “another Jesus than the one we proclaimed.”

Of course, as the ad says, Jesus didn’t teach hate, but Jesus did hate sin and he taught us to hate our sin. God is holy and the Bible repeatedly makes clear that He hates wickedness and evildoers.  (Psalm 11:5-7, Proverbs 11:20 as just two examples.)

And yes, Jesus taught love.  We are also called to love our neighbor as ourself – and each one of the persons represented in this ad is our neighbor.  Do we fall short of loving others?  Most certainly.  But thinking we can love the lost without also sharing the Truth in not loving; rather, knowingly holding back the message of salvation from those who will perish without it is the opposite of loving our neighbor.  The “He Gets Us” ad sends the message that Jesus accepts everyone with no mention of the need for repentance.  That message is what is truly hateful.

The ad emphasizes the “us” in Jesus, not the need for having Jesus in us.

In response to the “He Gets Us” ad, someone created and posted on YouTube the compelling Christian ad that should have been the message aired on the Super Bowl. Check it out here. Instead of sending the message that “Jesus Gets Us,” this one sends the message that “Jesus Saves Us,” using real life Christians who once were lost in sin before being redeemed and transformed by Jesus Christ.

The “He Gets Us” campaign had an opportunity to reach over 100 million people with the message of salvation, instead they gave a message of false hope. Equally concerning as the message of the “He Gets Us” ad, is the troubling messaging behind it.  The ad sends people to the “He Gets Us” website where they will receive the same unbiblical messaging as the TV ad.

The ad doesn’t exalt Jesus as Lord; it depicts Him as just one of us. The “He Gets Us” website also never introduces unbelievers to who Jesus really is: the Messiah, the only way to salvation.  Rather, the website repeatedly refers to Jesus as only a man.  Here’s just one example from their website: “How did the story of a man who taught and practiced unconditional love, peace, and kindness; who spent his life defending the poor and the marginalized; a man who even forgave his killers while they executed him unjustly — whose life inspired a radical movement that is still impacting the world thousands of years later — how did this man’s story become associated with hatred and oppression for so many people?”  

Notice there is no reference to Jesus as Savior, instead it portrays Him as merely a good, moral teacher.  This completely distorts who Jesus is and what His mission on earth was – it wasn’t to defend the poor and marginalized, but to call them to repent and believe. In addition, it also makes a not-so-veiled implication that Christians have perpetuated hatred and oppression.  Neither the ad nor the website anywhere mentions sin, our need of a Savior, or shares the Gospel message of salvation; they simply reinforce the social gospel of “niceness.”  Millions are under the delusion that they will go to Heaven if they are “nice/good.” The “He Gets Us” ad perpetuates that lie.

In addition, the website uses a bunch of woke, progressive terminology and reinforces victimhood mentality – with headings to topics such as: “Jesus was a refugee;” “Four ways Jesus supported women’s equality;” “Jesus didn’t feel welcomed by religious people either;” “Jesus felt pressure to be a good example too.”

Not surprisingly, some of the people behind the “He Gets Us” campaign aren’t even Christians.  As their website states: “He Gets Us is a diverse group of Jesus followers with a wide variety of faith journeys and lived experiences. Our work represents the input from Christians who believe that Jesus is the son of God as well as many others who, though not Christians, share a deep admiration for the man that Jesus was …” (emphasis added).  Also, this reference to Jesus as the Son of God is one of only two times Jesus’ deity is mentioned on their entire website, from what I found.

Jordon Boyd of the Federalist, writes: Dressing up the Word of God to appeal to the masses is the exact opposite of what Jesus and the apostles did and what Christians are commanded to do. We are told to sow the seed of the Gospel everywhere and to everyone, to preach Christ crucified — not water down the birth, death, resurrection, and ascension of the incarnate God, who detests sin, into someone who perfectly embodies the modern culture.”

The “He Gets Us” campaign is more interested in portraying Christ as a woke, nonjudgmental person than a righteous Savior who paid the penalty we deserve, calls us to turn away from our sin, and gives us new life in Him.  That’s the Christ we need to share with the lost.


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