God doesn’t just ‘get us’

Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the Gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel."

-- Mark 1:14-15

By now I've seen most of the ads in the "He Gets Us" campaign. Those behind it paid a small fortune to get them into the lineup of Super Bowl commercials this year. Of course, they were criticized for it, attacked for not using that money to feed starving children, by people who most likely never give a dime to help starving children.

Overall there seems to be more criticism than praise for the ad campaign, especially from my colleagues in conservative and reformed circles. Most of the praise comes from the left and center of Christendom, who view them as a good vehicle to communicate the Gospel to the diverse culture of our day. One side is concerned with truth, the other side is concerned with love, and both sides should be concerned with both.

The production quality is excellent. The scenes, the music, and the narration combine to grab your attention right away. Most of them, especially the foot washing commercial, tug the heart and force a lump in the throat. When the lady in the blue sweater bent over to wash the feet of a slightly pregnant young girl in front of an abortion clinic, with angry protesters standing in the background, I just lost it. Judgment and shame are not pro-life, love and compassion is.

The message, "He Gets Us," is clearly meant to tell the world that Jesus loves them. According to John 3:16, I'd say that He does. And that "He Gets Us," I have no doubt, seeing that our great God and Savior is omniscient. He gets what's going on with everybody and everything all the time.

The problem, however, with such slick production, and the similarly slickly-produced worship services of contemporary churches, is that this approach to speaking for God bypasses the mind to head straight for the heart. It is the same error made by Pentecostalism and revivalism in the previous century, mindless emotionalism meant to stir people up into making superficial decisions for Christ.

Jesus' first word to the world He gets and loves is "repent." Repentance takes aim at the mind and demands change. People in the world tend to have a high view of self and a low view of God. Minds must be changed to see God as preeminent, perfect, powerful; and, self as selfish, sinful, and separated from God.

The next thing the Lord said is "believe the Gospel." Belief is a loving and lasting commitment to someone or something, in this case God and the Gospel. The Gospel is the good news that God, in all of His greatness and grandeur, does indeed get us and love us and has come to us in the person of Jesus Christ. Christ died on the cross and rose again, and in believing in Him, and committing to follow Him, we have forgiveness of sins and everlasting life.

Repent and believe is the message all of us in the world need to hear. When we do, and when we respond in repentance and faith, God doesn't just get us. He saves us.

By the way, I don't mind the ad campaign. It is a little woke-ish? Sure, they left out the parts where Jesus called a non-Jewish woman a dog, and when He beat false worshippers with a whip and ran them out of the worship center. It would take more than a 30-second promo to explain those episodes.

Does "He Gets Us" tell the full Gospel? No, but the ads are not meant to do so. They are meant to show God's love and acceptance. They are meant to encourage people from all walks of life to take a walk with Jesus. I hope and pray they will walk into a good, biblical church to hear the whole story of how "He Saves Us."

Chuck DeVane is the pastor of Lake Hamilton Baptist Church. Call him at 501-525-8339 or email [email protected].

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