He Not Only Gets Us, but Is Better Than Us and Can Save and Transform Us
You may have seen an advertisement recently with striking black and white photographs, thought-provoking statements, and the phrase “He Gets Us. All of Us.” During the Super Bowl, $20 million was spent to air two commercials, one saying Jesus wants us to be childlike, and the other saying “Jesus loved the people we hate.”
These commercials, billboards, ads, etc. are put out by an organization that states the following goal:
“Ultimately, we want people to know his teachings and how he lived while here on Earth. And this will be a starting point to understanding him and his message. Though we believe he was what Christians call fully God and fully man, that may not be what you believe. We’re simply inviting you to explore with us at He Gets Us how might things be different if more people followed his example.”
In describing their “agenda,” the organization says they are concerned with the animosity, strife, and division that characterizes much of current discussion in the culture, and their effort is designed “to move beyond the mess of our current cultural moment to a place where all of us are invited to rediscover the love story of Jesus. Christians, non-Christians, and everybody in between. All of us.”
What is that love story? The group states it this way:
“Throughout our shared history, Jesus has represented the ultimate good that humankind is capable of aspiring to. And though some no longer believe in God, most are still compelled by the idea of a person capable of unconditional love for others despite their differences.”
The two ads from the Super Bowl match up with that goal. The call to be childlike showed pictures and video of children sacrificing, caring for, and helping others, even those who might look difference from them. And the message that Jesus loved the people we hate is clearly a call to follow His example.
And who could watch those ads with an open mind and not have their consciences pricked as they consider how they have failed to practice that same level of love and compassion. When they feel that prick of conscience, what is the message they are given: He Gets Us. Jesus was “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.”
What does the organization want you to do with this example of Jesus?
“Whether you consider yourself a Christian, a believer in another faith, a spiritual explorer, or not religious or spiritual in any way, we invite you to hear about Jesus and be inspired by his example.”
As a follower of Jesus for many years, I can attest that his example is inspiring: I want to live as Jesus lived. But I can also tell you that it is impossible to completely follow his example. And as a parent, I can also tell you that living like a child will not lead to kindness, compassion, and love. Children have the same problem I do: we are naturally selfish and proud. Things like “hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, [and]envy” are merely the manifestations of our sinful nature (Gal 5:19-21).
“What is the source of wars and fights among you? Don’t they come from your passions that wage war within you? You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and wage war” (James 4:1-2).
As much as Jesus’s example may inspire me, I will still fail to love those he loved, fail to forgive those who wronged me, and fail to sacrifice as I should for those in need.
But there is Good News. Jesus not only gets us as a fellow human—he is better than we could ever be since he is the perfect Son of God. He not only understands our temptations and weaknesses but also overcame them.
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin” (Heb 4:14-15)
Though we have and will fail to live the lives we should, Jesus did not fail.
“He did not commit sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth; when he was insulted, he did not insult in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten but entrusted himself to the one who judges justly” (1 Pet 2:22-23).
And because Jesus lived a life of perfect goodness, because He Is Better Than Us, he was able to suffer and die in our place so that we might have our sins forgiven and be made new. He Can Save Us.
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree; so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but you have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” 1 Pet 2:24-25
“Let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.” Heb 4:16
Yes, Jesus gets us. He “knows what we are made of.” But even better, if you are not merely inspired by his example but turn from your sin and trust in him, He Transforms Us.
He forgives all your iniquity;
he heals all your diseases.
He redeems your life from the Pit;
he crowns you with faithful love and compassion.
He satisfies you with good things;
your youth is renewed like the eagle. Ps 103:3-5, 14
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come! 2 Cor 5:17
A couple things to consider:
Read the whole thing. It pretty clearly articulates the substitutionary atonement, exclusivity of Christ and the gospel, and the necessity of personal faith.
This site says a few important things, too. I’ll let you sort through it.
There may be a problem with strategy, methods, and timing (not to mention ecclesiology). But I think it’s an important point to understand how they see the gospel, and I don’t think you did that well because you didn’t have the full picture.
Thanks for the note. My goal was not to communicate how He Gets Us understands the gospel, but to offer a more explicit message of the gospel in connection to their advertisements. I was aware of those Bible reading plans and the other site you highlighted.
But if we are offering a full picture of their understanding of the gospel, it is also important to see that the way they encourage people to “explore” these truths is through the Alpha Course, which when I look for a group in my area the first place that comes up is a Roman Catholic Church.
Additionally, a fuller picture of their understanding of the gospel needs to include their claim to want to “be the voice of a movement — of people who have considered his story and found it deeply and personally transformational. For some, it has been a religious experience, and for others, it’s simply a call to strive to love others better.”
That’s fair. I hadn’t seen the Alpha Course reference (though I’m not surprised).
I do think the wisdom of their strategy (not to mention the potential error of ecumenism, with Alpha and RCs) is a matter to consider. I personally see enough to conclude I’m not willing to lend my efforts to theirs. But I do think there are things to appreciate about their attempts, and recognize that one of the ways Scripture presents Jesus is someone who is acquainted with our griefs and empathetic with our temptations and struggles. A presentation doesn’t have to be complete to be effective at getting someone to respond further, so you can share why He came.
I appreciate the assessment. The adds fail to give any real mention of the gospel message Tha t can save our souls and can reconcile us to God. It was as you pointed out, their being to have people think of the loving kindness of Jesus, but falls short of WHY HE CAME !
It’s also worth considering how commercials tend to be used these days. Think insurance… Geckos, humorous agents, etc… Not really much to do with their policies and coverage. But there’s value to the company because the ads provoke curiosity and drive people who need insurance to find out more.
These ads (like the strategy or not) aren’t intended to give the whole message. They’re intended to provoke a response that will drive people to find out more.
I get it that the ads are meant to be leading toward more info.
I simply wonder how many will be inoculated against the true Good News by being satisfied that they are already fulfilling the “Jesus” The ads portray. As you know here in West Michigan the message of the ads is the Christianized, non saving soup this area delights to swim in. Grace.
Maybe, but would such people have responded any more decisively to a quick ABC kind of summary of the Gospel?
There’s no doubt some might look to things like this to justify their own sufficiency. But human hearts are capable of doing that easily in many varied settings.
The strategy may be flawed. But it’s got enough Scripture and truth that it’s possible the Spirit of God uses it to draw someone to Himself.
Thanks for the article – for being fair to the organization and to the commercials, but also fair in what can be said beyond the commercials.
My level of spiritual expectation is pretty low when watching commercials on television; that this group provided something above the norm is a simple blessing. Maybe this is too simplistic of a perspective; and no, the commercials don’t give a complete picture of Jesus or the Gospel. But they are commercials: short, succinct, and arresting. At a time when immorality is commercially promoted with regularity, I would suggest that we can be thankful when people are exposed to Jesus in an thought-provoking way when His name isn’t a word of profanity and when his characterization is within orthodoxy – even if it is for 30 seconds.