At the 2024 Super Bowl, one ad generated unexpected controversy: the He Gets Us “Foot Washing” ad. You can see it here:
It depicts surprising, eye-catching scenes of one person washing another person’s feet — a nod to Jesus’ washing his disciples’ feet in John 13.
It ends with the message, “Jesus didn’t teach hate. He washed feet.”
However, some Christians have strongly condemned the ad. Here are some examples - from both conservative and progressive angles:
The top comment on the ad itself reads, “When’s the video on repentance coming out?”
One professor at a Southern Baptist seminary wrote, in part:
He Gets Us framed evangelism with a leftward tinge, communicating the respectability of certain sins over others in our culture (although I’m not sure the ad even communicated that the respectable sins were sins at all).
It is curious that Jesus never showed up washing feet at a MAGA rally, a truck stop porn store in Alabama, to dilapidated and drugged-out factory workers in Ohio, or a white nationalist militia meeting in Michigan. If Jesus really is for all sinners, we should want right-wing racists converted as well, right? How would we respond to Jesus washing the feet of someone outside the Capitol on January 6?
The socially high-status sins of the Left are the ones Christians are told to evangelize, not the low-status sins of the Deplorable Right because, it seems, they are the ones truly outside redemption’s reach.
- Another popular writer and editor wrote,
Those who funded, created, and distributed the #HeGetsUs advertisement will be judged by the God they claim to know.
- This comment also took issue with the portrayal of Jesus:
The He Gets Us ads message isn’t that you should worship Jesus.
Their message is that Jesus worships you.
- One apologist concluded her analysis of the campaign, writing:
I find it highly discouraging that when there is so much money being poured into a campaign, it’s being used to further the perception that Jesus is the same Jesus people already believe in rather than the one they need to believe in. Promoting a social justice Jesus can actually make talking about the real Jesus more difficult, because He Gets Us has placed one more data point in people’s minds that it’s His followers who talk about all that “unpopular stuff” who don’t get it. They’ll come away knowing Jesus gets them, but they won’t get Him.
From the other side of the divide I found this comment:
So how much did the #HeGetsUs folks spend on a Super Bowl evangelism campaign this year that could have gone towards justice & humanitarian needs? The things we do when we fear hell more than we love our oppressed neighbours and their physical liberation.
From my perspective, these polarizing takes are surprising.
It seems obvious that Jesus washed his disciples’ feet. And this event is recorded to inspire us to humbly serve one another.
What does it look like for people who are formed by Jesus to interact with their neighbors? Washing people’s feet seems like one way we could show our neighbors that we honor their dignity, care about them, and want to build bridges.
Is this all that we need to know about Jesus? Surely not, but we’re talking about a one-minute ad that is designed to provoke curiosity.
What’s your take?