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He Gets Us: The Super Bowl ad that wasn’t meant for you

He Gets Us Super bowl ad

He Gets Us | Fair Use via YouTube

Sarah Robsdottir - published on 02/18/24

If you're a regular reader of Christian websites, you probably are already prepared to receive more of the Gospel message...

What if every time you told your child you loved him, you also stated your expectations of what being in a relationship with you entails? It would sound something like this: “I love you, and I expect you to treat me with respect, do your chores, be decent to your siblings, etc.”


Let’s try that again. This time — just focus on the love, because only once that’s established, truly established — the proper behavior will follow. Okay, here goes: “I love you. I love you. I love you.” 

Ah yes, that’s much better.

I think this is what the creators of the He Gets Us Super Bowl commercial had in mind when, again this year, they ran their estimated $20 million advertisement. The anonymous donors behind this commercial — watched by a record-breaking crowd of 123 million viewers — must have done something right, because they succeeded in royally irritating a whole bunch of people and sparking a viral debate.

They did this by running a 1-minute advertisement depicting people from all walks of life washing one another’s feet — an action Jesus performed for his apostles, which has long symbolized unconditional Christian love, humility, and sacrifice.

“Jesus didn’t teach hate,” the clip states. “He washed feet.” 

The secular crowd was incensed that Christianity was being pushed on them. Such voices challenged the He Gets Us nonprofit, arguing that they hold anti-LGTBQ sentiment (even though their website clearly states otherwise). I’d suggest they rewatch, to note the transgender person in the commercial whose feet were the final ones to be washed, and by a Catholic priest. 

Secular voices also argued the money that paid for the ad could have been better spent — to feed the poor, etc. But why don’t they levy this criticism against the many corporate sponsors who ran expensive ads that night too? State Farm Insurance and BMW, for example, have plenty of money to feed the poor, but no one’s criticizing them for taking out ads. Besides, Christians have long managed to doboth: We feed more poor worldwide than any government agency or secular group on the planet, while at the same time building big beautiful churches and now … running Super Bowl ads.

Too much? Not enough?

But the secular crowd wasn’t the only one miffed.

Conservative Christians were offended along with the secular crowd because not enough of the Gospel message was preached — specifically the part about turning from sin and being made new in Christ.

An evangelical pastor pushed back against the commercial with his own version of the message — one that shows how an ex-porn star and a drug addict (just two of several examples) have responded to Jesus’ transformative grace. This “pushback” video is exquisite, and it definitely presents a fuller Gospel message. But I don’t think it would mean anything to people who use Jesus’ name as a swear word. Of course not. Such folks wouldn’t even watch it.

But they did watch the He Gets Us ad during the Super Bowl. Hopefully some of them hopped online afterward to learn more about the group that put it out. Maybe they did. Maybe they didn’t.

The He Gets Us website doesn’t offer such analytics, but it does share a clear message of Jesus’ love, which along with your prayers and the power of the Holy Spirit will hopefully call many lost hearts home. 

ChristianEntertainmentNew EvangelizationUnited States
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