"He Gets Us," But Do We Get Him?

"He Gets Us," But Do We Get Him?

Pastor Robert Zemke

One Super Bowl commercial from the He Gets Us campaign is getting a lot of attention. Hobby Lobby’s CEO, David Green, and other Christians are funding a three-year effort to present Jesus to a broader audience. Their recent ad shows people washing the feet of others from different walks of life. The ad then concludes with, “Jesus didn’t hate. He washed feet. He gets all of us.” Washing people’s feet (a metaphor used for serving others) regardless of who they are, is a good thing –there are no lepers among us. From the campaign’s website: “How did the story of Jesus, the world's greatest love story, get twisted into a tool to judge, harm, and divide? How do we remind people that the story of Jesus belongs to everyone? We hope to remind everyone that Jesus' teachings are a warm embrace, not a cold shoulder.” Bob Smietana, a national reporter for Religion News Service, told NPR, "These ads… are a way to chide their fellow Christians to say, this is what Jesus is like, and maybe we know it, and maybe we're not acting like Jesus."  

But is this message biblical? We can so emphasize one aspect of the faith that the message gets distorted. When Jesus washes the disciples' feet in John 13:8-10, Peter told Jesus he would not let him wash his feet, and then Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me." Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!" Jesus told him, "He who is bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you." (John 13:8-10). The campaign’s website says, "Jesus was using foot washing to emphasize a larger point- a symbol for all his followers to see how they should treat one another.” Using Jesus' love and service as a model for humanity to love and serve one another is admirable, but that is not primarily why Jesus came.  

The foot washing occurs during the last supper, with his arrest and crucifixion looming. He is pointing to his purpose for going to the cross – so that they would be clean. Jesus is highlighting the fact that without his cleansing, no one belongs to Christ. You cannot have fellowship with Christ unless his work on the cross cleanses you. In John 1:7, “We are being cleansed from every sin by the blood of Jesus.” 

The “He Gets Us” campaign overemphasizes the humanity of Jesus such that his purpose of why he came gets distorted. The story is simplified to be a lesson in humility when it is much more. Though the ad says Jesus did not teach hate – yet he did say. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). Your love for Jesus is so superior to everything else that your love for others is like hate. The ad is trying to give a warm embrace to everyone, yet Jesus said in John 15:19, “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” Just because Christians believe there is a judge and only in Christ are you clean does not mean Christians are to be judgmental. Instead, since they believe they are saved by grace, there is even more reason to be kind to those they may disagree with.