Monday, February 19, 2024

He Gets Us

If you were one of 123+ million viewers who tuned in to watch this year's big football game, you likely saw some commercials featuring none other than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The message of these commercials were that Jesus washes feet and that He's not about hate, but love. 

And the backlash on social media was swift. 

It seems the viewing public had a lot of problems with these seemingly simple messages about Jesus. And overwhelmingly, the backlash was not about "pushing a religion" in America's biggest moment. 

It was...weirder than that. 

There were some who were upset because of the organization that funds these messages and its ties to another organization that some love to hate on. For them, there was a big disconnect between the kind of message that the ads seemed to present and the lived-out message those who financially supported the ads actually offer. They were, in essence, calling out, "Hypocrite!" and cautioning anyone against paying too much attention, not because the ads themselves were false but because the persons behind the ads don't do a good enough job (in the commentators' eyes) of living it out. 

Never mind that most persons don't even know who finances these Jesus ads, and the truth coming out of a donkey's mouth is still the truth of God, whether you think highly of donkeys or not. (That's a Numbers reference, by the way.) 

There were others who came out and said that if the persons behind the ads really loved Jesus, they would have invested the money into actual good causes, like feeding and housing the poor, rather than "wasting" it on a few seconds of air time. The billions of dollars that it cost to show Jesus on the most-watched screen in America seemed to them to be way down the ladder of all of the good that money could have done in the world when there are real problems out there that that kind of money can make a real impact on. 

Never mind that Jesus never told us to go and eliminate poverty; He told us to go and make disciples. To do that, you have to be talking about Jesus. 

There were some who said it was just a massive rebranding effort, trying to get the world to think differently about Jesus so that they wouldn't hate Christians so much. Maybe even think differently about Christians, instead of just assuming we're all messing it up. Maybe it was just an attempt to show the world that not everyone has lost the message of the real Christ. 

Never mind that Jesus could maybe use a little rebranding in this world after all the ways we've messed Him up for far too long.

There were others who said that the ads didn't go far enough into the message of Christ, that they were too much grace and not enough truth. That they created the impression of the same false Jesus that many liberal Christians are preaching these days - a Jesus who loves you just the way you are and doesn't want you to change, a Jesus who embraces anyone and everyone with no expectations for the way they live after meeting Him. He washed feet, yes, they said, but "it's important to remember that even having his feet washed by Christ wasn't enough to save Judas." There's a truth component about righteousness and life change and real faith that wasn't present in those ads. 

Never mind that someone has to be really listening before you can dump a whole load of any information on them. 

There were a lot of criticisms over the Jesus ads, a lot of talking heads that took immediately to the sphere of the internet to voice their myriad concerns. And somehow, not a lot of anyone saying, "Hey, that's awesome. Someone made Jesus part of the big football game." 

And yet, it's worth saying that at the very least, here we all are, talking about Him. Isn't that something? 

And we'll keep talking about Him this week. Because I think it's important to dive into some of these criticisms and see what we turn up. If for nothing else than to keep the conversation going.  

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