One video ad depicts Jesus as a rebel and his disciples as a gang that drew opposition from community and religious leaders for spreading love, not hate.
Another ad describes a controversial figure who drew opposition, challenges, and insults. He refused to retaliate “because he believed he could change the world… by turning the other cheek.” It closes with the phrase “Jesus gets us.”
Since the campaign launched in March, it has reached more than 120 million people in the U.S., according to Vanderground. It has aired ads during prime-time national television and major live sports broadcasts. Its short videos, in English and Spanish, have received 374 million views on YouTube.
The campaign aims to provoke interest from non-Christians.
Visitors to the He Gets Us website will find articles that describe Jesus as someone who “invited everyone to sit at his table.” They describe how Jesus was “fed up with politics, too” and how he faced criticism. “How would Jesus be judged today?” another article asks.
To the question of what Jesus would think of teen moms, it notes that Jesus was born to a teenage Mary.
The He Gets Us website offers reading plans about Jesus, drawing on Bible passages. The campaign offers a text-message system for users to receive messages of prayer or positivity. The website can connect those interested with someone local to learn about Jesus or with groups where they can ask questions about life and faith.
“Our hope is that you see how Jesus experienced challenges and emotions just like we have. We want to provide a safe place to ask questions, including the tough ones,” the website explains. “We are also about sharing Jesus’ openness to people that others might have excluded. His message went out to all. And though you may see religious people as often hypocritical or judgmental, know that Jesus saw that, too — and didn’t like it either. Instead, Jesus taught and offered radical compassion and stood up for the marginalized.”
The website offers T-shirts, hats, and stickers with the phrases “Jesus was wrongly judged” or “Jesus was an immigrant.” They are available free of charge, provided the person placing the order has shown love to a stranger, forgiven someone, or paid someone a compliment.
Vanderground said that although He Gets Us is not associated with any particular denomination or church, many Catholics are involved in the development of the campaign and it has received positive feedback from Catholic media.
“As we work to call up Christians to reflect Jesus and prepare them for new conversations with spiritual explorers, it is vital that we engage Catholics who represent 70 million people in the U.S.,” he said.
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The He Gets Us campaign plans to make a special impact at a time when many Americans are watching their televisions early next year.
“We are excited about the opportunity to have two ads during the upcoming Super Bowl on Feb. 12, 2023,” Vanderground said. “He Gets Us is just eight months into a long-term, sustained effort to create a new movement to increase the respect and relevance for Jesus in our culture and call up Christians to reflect him in their interactions with others.”