I’ve seen quite a few complaints that the money used to buy those “He Gets Us” (JesUS) ads during the Super Bowl could have been used to help those in need. To be clear, I could go either way on the ads themselves and have no idea of the financial situation of the ads’ backers or the actual motivation behind them; I don’t think many of those commenting do either. I don’t know if it was a wise choice to run those ads at that time, or at all.

     However, I do think there are some things to consider:

– Jesus saw the ultimate value in focusing people on himself and the power of who he was and what he was doing. He was the only one in history absolutely justified to do that. The classic example is Matthew 26. People were outraged that a woman had “wasted” something expensive on Jesus instead of helping those in need. He says simply that those in need will always be here but his presence, and what it means for all of humanity, is a far more precious commodity. It’s not a free ticket to ignore the needs of others, as that would contradict some other teachings of his. But In a very real sense, there is no dollar amount that we can place on one person understanding who Jesus really is and celebrating that.

– Similarly, true “Christianity” is not centrally about helping those in need but is about the person of Jesus, who he was, who he is, and what he wants for the world, INCLUDING acts of love and service.

     If we boil Christianity down to merely that of a service organization, then we have missed maybe the most critical aspect of what it means to follow Christ, namely the focus on Jesus himself. In a way, these ads could do more of that and still not be an adequate representation. Yes, to our shame, we often neglect the social justice or outreach aspect of what it means to follow Christ, but that doesn’t negate the fact that Jesus calls us to know him (seek him) first and live in light of that knowledge.

     We don’t know how much money, if any, the people behind these ads are using to support initiatives aimed at helping others meet their physical needs or for social justice causes.

– Much of the reaction is surely based on resentment toward a religious affiliation and not a Super Bowl ad, per se. And to be fair, we in the “Christian” community have earned some of it

– But, some of the loudest voices have and would continue to label the group behind the ad specifically and many followers of Christ in general as members of a “hate group”. If that is your view, then reasonable conversations about motivation or truth can’t progress very far, and I don’t think any outreach in the name of Jesus would be considered acceptable to those with that viewpoint, expensive or not.

     It’s a tad hypocritical to criticize a $20 million ad when it is estimated that we spend a combined $17 billion on watching a single football game, including food, clothing, and other things ‘required’ to watch the big game. Could 20 million for a Super Bowl ad have been spent on initiatives for people in need? Absolutely. That’s true of ANY of the expensive ads run on Sunday. And I would imagine the wings, beverage, and nacho budget of Americans alone (raises hand) could also do that many times over.

Just some perspectives to consider, my friends.


Phillip Mullins has a family heritage of serving the Lord. He is the son of, the grandson of, and the great-grandson of, ministers of God’s Word.