“He Gets Us” Super Bowl Ad – Some Thoughts

February 15, 2024

I, like many of you, sat through the Super Bowl this past Sunday night in order to view the always hyped up ads that accompany the year’s most prestigious commercial sporting event (I say “commercial” because EVERYONE knows the most prestigious sporting event is the World Squash Championships held in different locations each year, but I digress). Like many of you we sat in silence as the foot washing ad from the “He Gets Us” campaign came on. In fact, I straight up got choked up watching this one (big surprise, I know). 

Since then, of course and with no surprise whatsoever, the Internetz have been aflame with response both positive and negative that X user Dan White Jr. seems to have summarized well: 

For what it’s worth, I don’t think any of these takes hold much weight and they all miss the mark to one degree or another but I don’t want to dissect each of them because the Internet has already done all that and you can find the arguments for and against each take if this is something that interests you.

I did, however, want to just add a 4th lens to this and it is what I call the “Utilitarian Lens” – which says that “Jesus wouldn’t spend $14 mil on a commercial. He’d just feed the poor.” I’ve seen variations of this statement made all over the place as well. And I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately because something just doesn’t feel right. In fact, I see this same thinking in scripture as well. Remember when the woman spills her expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet and good ol’ Judas says “Could not this perfume have been sold to others and the money given to the poor?” You could essentially replace “ad spaces” for “perfume” and arrive at the same principle: this seems like a waste of money when poor folks are all around us and have need. Jesus’ response to this was, essentially, that this wasn’t a waste of dollars spent because, though the poor are always here, there are also other important things to spend your money on (such as me, Jesus!).

Now, please do not hear me say we should cast aside the need for caring for the poor. Of course I believe it’s an integral part of the Christian’s call and the responsibility of bringing shalom, the peace and well-being we’re called to be agents of in this world, is oftentimes arrived at through serving and giving to the poor. Keep doing that.

But also.

Let’s acknowledge that shalom reached through more than just meeting material need, as important and essential as that may be. In fact, shalom is encapsulated by telling others about Jesus (this commercial does that), showing the world what the peace-making, others-oriented love of Jesus looks like (this commercial does that), and inviting others into following that Jesus instead of what the world (and sadly the Church) has often portrayed him as being (this commercial does that, too). 

So, was the commercial a waste of money? Possibly. But can we not at least concede that sometimes communicating the beautiful, subversive message of Jesus–this message that we claim to be the most important, most life-giving, most hope-filled message for the ENTIRE world–can be rather expensive in this day and age? 

And as an aside, here’s an encouraging story for our community. On Sunday, as I mentioned, we watched the big game. What I didn’t mention was that we were at a big party with non-Grassrooters-but-still-church friends. There were maybe 30 or so of us. When the first commercial came on, there was silence in the room. Everyone was more or less in shock at what we had just witnessed. And then as convo started up again, someone in the room made a light-hearted jab: “Is Grassroots making commercials now?!” And whether intentional or not, I took that to mean, “This is the kind of Jesus your community talks about and tries to emulate.” That basically made my entire night and I thought it’d serve as a good encouragement to the rest of you as well. This IS the Jesus we want to both proclaim and reflect! Amen!

Okay that’s all. Have a great week and we’ll see you Sunday!

Grace and Peace!


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