Which Super Bowl ad ‘gets’ Jesus best?

Millions of dollars were spent on Jesus Super Bowl ads this year. They sparked animated conversations in churches, coffee shops, and social media. Where to begin? How about with Hallow?

Hallow’s ad featured two high-profile actors doing something amazing: praying. Mark Wahlberg and Jonathan Roumie prayed together to the biggest television audience in history to “help us, Lord, to grow closer to you this Lent.” Then Wahlberg looks into the camera and invites us to pray with the two of them on the Hallow ap during Lent.

Simple. Honest. Powerful.

In an era when only 43% of weekly church attenders are male, seeing two masculine men praying is a powerful encouragement. Jesus Himself prayed constantly. He taught his disciples how to pray, who in turn went out and taught others to pray in order to help each of us develop a personal relationship with God.

Well done, Hallow!

Jesus. He gets us.

Of the two Jesus Super Bowl ads, the second stirred up something of a hornet’s nest. We refer to the “Jesus. He gets us” ad:


Pulse Executive Director, Maggie DeWitte reacted:

“Exactly.  Jesus IS merciful.  He DID eat with the sinners.  He LOVED them.  He loved them so much that He was willing to tell them the honest truth.  And the honest, hard truth was that you need to change your sinful ways.  You are going down a path that leads to destruction.  He was showing them a better way.  He was accepting of the person, but not of their sin.  To receive His mercy, you must first admit your sin and repent of it.”

Daily Wire podcaster Matt Walsh didn’t like the ad either. He asks:

“Will the ad call the world to repentance, to humility, to obedience, to virtue? No, no, no, and no.”

Interesting point. The Bible contains 54 verses calling for our repentance alone. Jesus preached repentance constantly, because He knows our sick souls need it:

 “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

Blaze TV host Steve Deace said the ad recognizes that people are hurting, but that it offers the wrong solution. People don’t need a buddy (a Jesus that gets them), they need someone to save them from their sin, which involves repentance.

Repentance is glaringly absent in this Jesus Super Bowl ad.

The abortion angle

Pulse is particularly interested in the image of a pro-life supporter washing the feet of a woman in front of a family planning clinic. We suspect she’s there for an abortion or has had one.

How to react?

• This is a lovely representation of what pro-lifers offer women: love and support.

• But is the gravity of the sin of abortion implied? Not at all.


And this is a significant omission, especially in this Lenten season when we are called to turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.

The ad’s big messages are:

  1. “Jesus didn’t teach hate.” Duh. As Matt Walsh said, in this post-Christian world where ignorance of Christianity is rampant, the one single fact everyone knows about Jesus is that he didn’t teach hate. So why do they even mention this, unless they’re suggesting that it is somehow hateful to call out sinful behavior. Again, the message gets our attention without a proper call to action: repentance and faithfulness to the gospel.
  2. “He. Washed. Feet.” Actually, He only did that on one very specific occasion, the night of the Last Supper. But what he did do over and over again is call us to repentance.
  3. “He gets us. All of us.” Indeed He does, which is why he told the woman caught in adultery, “go and sin no more.” He said to the paralyzed man whom He had healed, “Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” He tells us all, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.” 

How could repentance be ignored?

If repentance is a critical component of Christ’s evangelization message, how could this ad ignore it? Because that’s not the goal, according to the head honcho at BrandHaven, Jason Vanderground, the agency that created the spot. Said Mr. Vanderground:

“Ultimately the goal is inspiration, not recruitment or conversion.”

The ad’s website further explains:

“He gets us is a movement to reintroduce people to the Jesus of the Bible and his confounding love and forgiveness.”

Christ was all about conversion, not just inspiration. His ‘confounding’ love and forgiveness was accompanied by a call to repentance. Whatever the motivation behind the ad’s exclusion of this critical element of Christianity, we’re left with the awareness that these people just don’t ‘get’ Jesus.

The Babylon Bee captured the essence of our concerns in their own imitable ‘reporting’ of the ad:

U.S. — Thanks to the prominently placed Super Bowl ad, thousands of people on their way to Hell breathed a sigh of relief upon learning that Jesus “gets them” and they don’t have to repent or anything.

The rest of their post is well worth reading.

As for the two Jesus Super Bowl ads, this blog votes for Hallow.