Throwing hands over washing feet: The message of "He Gets Us"

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Throwing hands over washing feet: Considering the message of the “He Gets Us” foot-washing Super Bowl commercial

February 23, 2024 -

Jesus washes a person's foot. The Super Bowl "He Gets Us" commercial showed Christians washing the feet of others. By Laci Gibbs/stock.adobe.com

Jesus washes a person's foot. The Super Bowl "He Gets Us" commercial showed Christians washing the feet of others. By Laci Gibbs/stock.adobe.com

Jesus washes a person's foot. The Super Bowl "He Gets Us" commercial showed Christians washing the feet of others. By Laci Gibbs/stock.adobe.com

Did you watch the amazing Chiefs/Forty-Niners Super Bowl?

Over 200 million of us tuned in for at least part of it! That’s the most ever, including increased numbers of Hispanic viewers via Univision and more women than ever (via Taylor Swift?!).

There was even a Nickelodeon simulcast from Bikini Bottom, which, due to an internet issue, my buds and I enjoyed for a bit!

If you did watch, maybe you saw the “He Gets Us” foot-washing commercial. What did you think? Feel?

What, if anything, did it stir in you?

Hand-wringing over foot-washing

Maybe you thought the money could have been better spent feeding the poor.

Perhaps you felt it didn’t share the whole gospel, or maybe even portrayed a false gospel.

It certainly has caused a tempest.

Mind if I share what I thought?

I loved it! It warmed my heart to see a popular expression of Christians doing what Christians are meant to do.

Why “He Gets Us” Got Us

Viewer perspective certainly shapes our reactions to the commercial. I’m a near-sixty-year-old white pastor. I think Jesus is amazing, but I follow him haphazardly sometimes. (Most times?) I also have an annoyingly overdeveloped sense of empathy.

It’s from that vantage point that I offer three reasons “He Washes Feet” crushed it.

  1. First off, it’s a powerful counter-message to the growing idea that Christians are best at hating stuff: sin, bad people, political opposition, whatever. Too many of us are too often pigeonholed as haters and identified by what we’re against. But, on the contrary, it’s what we’re for that really rocks: the fullness of the kingdom of God in our hearts, down the street, and all over this beautiful world!
  2. Secondly, the commercial reminds us of an aspect of Jesus that probably doesn’t get as much air time as it should: He came to serve. Similarly, Christians might not get reminded as often as would be good for us that essential to our calling is loving and serving people we wouldn’t naturally love and serve.
  3. Finally, a Muslim woman, sitting in the lawn chair of my Indiana youth, gets her feet washed! Yes. Yes. Yes. Those of us claiming the gift of life Jesus offers can surely agree: part of the way we (at least some of us) steward that gift of life is by demonstrating it through service to Muslims. Jesus died for them, and God loves them like we love our own kids, only better!

Let’s get off the couch

Now the hard part: Jesus spoke plainly in John 13:14–15, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”

Can we do it?

Washing feet, and its numerous modern equivalents, can be uncomfortable and inconvenient. But Jesus was always prioritizing loving the marginalized over comfort and convenience.

Ready to live out the hard challenge of our Lord?

You grab a towel. I’ll go fill up a dish pan.

What did you think of this article?

If what you’ve just read inspired, challenged, or encouraged you today, or if you have further questions or general feedback, please share your thoughts with us.

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