The ‘He Gets Us’ campaign to market a really likable Jesus who really understands us, and who is the all-time greatest role model in human history is in the news again. For the last 10 months “He Gets Us” ads have shown up on billboards, YouTube channels and television screens across the country, spreading the message that Jesus understands the human condition.
One of the ads that aired during the NFL playoffs was titled “That Day” and tells the story of an innocent man being executed. The ad says:
“Jesus rejected resentment on the cross. He gets us. All of us.”
Jesus did what?! Last I checked Jesus died to save His people from their sin, not to reject the resentment of Roman soldiers or angry religious Jews.
‘He Gets Us’ ads planned for the Super Bowl will cost about $20 million, according to organizers. The original campaign was described as a $100 million effort. The current goal is to invest about a billion dollars over the next three years.
A recent article appeared here that talked about a lady that describes herself as a “love more” Christian and ordinary Mom who works in marketing”, was initially skeptical of another marketing plan for Jesus, but ended up becoming a fan of the ads because, in her opinion they focus on the main message of Christianity:
“It all goes to Jesus, and if it all goes back to Jesus, it all goes back to love.”
At this point, you might be thinking this post might be about the evils of marketing Jesus. While it is certainly true that I dislike marketing campaigns for Jesus, I am most concerned with the opinion that the “He Gets Us’ ads focus on Jesus’s love being the main message of Christianity. Please let me explain.
While It is certainly true that God IS love, and that God’s perfect love resulted in His sending His Son into this world to save us, did God send His Son to us just to show us how much like us Jesus is – how much ‘He Gets Us’?
Before Jesus was born, an Angel of the Lord appeared to am apprehensive Joseph and said:
“She (Mary) will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matt 1:21, ESV)
The Apostle Paul told a young Pastor Timothy:
“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” (1 Tim 1:15, ESV)
In one of his letters, the Apostle John tells us exactly how much God loves and why He sent His Son:
“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins”. (1 John 4:10, ESV)
The ‘He Gets Us’ campaign presents a woefully incomplete and inadequate picture of Jesus. Does Jesus ‘get us’? Certainly. Can Jesus identify with our humanity? Certainly. But to present Jesus in His humanity and omit His Divinity, His perfect sinless life, and his death for our sins is to miss the message of the gospel entirely.
Why omit the gospel message? Are the campaign promoters ashamed of the gospel message that Christ died for our sins? They would most certainly say no and claim that they are merely trying to encourage unbelievers to be more interested in Jesus so that others down the road can explain it in more detail.
Campaign organizers say that over 20,000 churches have offered volunteers from a range of denominational backgrounds to follow up with anyone who sees the ads and asks for more information. Will those follow up conversations contain a gospel message that speaks of sin, the need for repentance and believing in Christ for the forgiveness of sin? Your guess is as good as mine, however there’s a good chance that many will not.
The entire ‘He Gets Us’ campaign suffers from what seems to echo the theme that much of today’s evangelicalism presents – the need to try and “attract” unbelievers to Jesus, making Him likable to the unbelieving masses. The difficulty in that approach is clearly identified in 1 Corionthians1:18:
“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (ESV)
Furthermore, the Bible tells us that those whose minds are focused on the “flesh” (all unbelievers) are actually hostile to God:
“For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.” (Rom 8:7, ESV)
There are other significant criticisms of the ‘He Gets Us’ campaign that should concern conservative, biblically literate Christians. One such article can be found in a previous post here at The Battle Cry. Others can be found with the use of a good internet search engine. I will leave those to you.
So what can we do to upset the misguided goal of ‘He Gets Us’ organizers to “redeem the brand of Christianity’s savior?” Well, most of us will watch the Super Bowl, believers and unbelievers alike. I suggest a couple of things.
- We can always ask our unbelieving friends and acquaintances how they felt about the ‘He Gets Us’ ads. You might want to wait until after the game before initiating that discussion. You can also listen for discussions already in progress about the ads and politely join in.
- We can agree with the fact that Jesus was human, but we need to talk about “The Rest of the Story” (Paul Harvey) and talk about how Jesus was also Divine – the God-Man.
- We can explain how, although Jesus was human, the reason for His coming wasn’t just to share humanity with us, but to carry out a Divine mission, to die for OUR sins; to satisfy God’s just wrath against those sins. Be gentle.
- We can pray what I call the “Lydia” prayer, asking God to open hearts to hear the gospel. See Acts 16:11-15)
- Although you might be nervous, be like the Apostle Paul who said:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16, ESV)
Jesus doesn’t need to be “re-branded”. His Gospel (the one that includes the issue of Sin, the need for repentance and trusting in Christ for forgiveness) needs to be preached “in season” and “out of season” – when it’s popular or unpopular, timely and untimely, convenient or inconvenient (2 Tim 4:2) . As believers, our part is to faithfully present that gospel. God’s part is to save the souls of those whose hearts He has opened to hear it.
You can read the complete article referenced in this post here, or at https://julieroys.com/he-gets-us-set-spend-billion-promote-jesus-will-anyone-care/
As I read this I thought about simply sharing the Gospel one to one or open air preaching seems better than this campaign
I agree with you. I know the stated goal of the campaign is to make Jesus more relatable (attractive) to unbelievers, but I am not sure that goal is realistic considering what Scripture has to say about the state of every unbeliever in Romans 8:7-8, among other passages. Sadly, attractional evangelism has been the prevalent model for some years now, at least since Rick Warren went to unbelievers’ doors and asked what they wanted a church to look like, and then designed Saddleback according to what unbelievers want in a church. The thing is, what you use to being unbelievers through the doors needs to be continued to keep them. To then speak of the reality of sin, the need for repentance and forgiveness could be termed a ‘bait and switch’. Just an old soldiers perspective. As always, thanks for stopping by!