As I was watching the Super Bowl last weekend (and having my heart broken… again… by a deflating loss to the Giants. I really can’t stand those Manning brothers), I was paying more attention to commercials than I usually do. It’s well known that Super Bowl commercials are pretty special, and they better be at $3,500,000 each!
Last year we used Walt Mueller’s “3D Guide to Media” and his “Download” curriculum to help us “Discover” the meaning, “Discern” the message, and “Decide” what to do with the Media we watch/listen to/read/consume. Here’s my favorite commercial from this year’s Super Bowl, and I used this last week to kick off a new series in Youth Group looking at different Media (Music, Music Videos, TV, Movies, Advertisements, etc.):
DISCOVER the meaning
Obviously, since this is a commercial, they want to convince us to buy a Chevy truck as our next car purchase. The idea they’re trying to sell us it twofold: 1. Chevy trucks are better than Ford, and 2. Chevy trucks will keep you safe when other trucks won’t.
Here are a few things to notice about the commercial (in no particular order):
- The music (Barry Manilow’s “Looks Like We Made It”) is upbeat, positive, and hopeful despite all the destruction.
- The main guy simply nods his head when he hears “Dave didn’t make it” because he drove a Ford. Meanwhile, none of their Chevy’s are dented, scratched, none have broken windows, they’re simply dirty. The message is clear, drive a Chevy and you’ll be safe.
- Transformers seem to have a role in the destruction of the world… really? Then there’s a random UFO, a huge chasm in the middle of the earth, asteroids, a volcano spewing lava, and even frogs falling from the sky (symbolic pointing back to the Plagues of Frogs against Egypt).
DISCERN the message
This is a brilliant commercial for a number of reasons. It feeds off the “buzz” surrounding the Mayan Apocalypse and people’s general fearfulness and desire for security. People really are talking about this Mayan Apocalypse… they don’t believe it, but it has them talking about the end of the world, what that will be like, when it will come, and who will survive (in case you didn’t know, supposedly, Twinkies and Cockroaches are the only two things that will survive a nuclear fallout).
A few insights, implications, and questions:
- The Hidden Message About Women. Where are the women? The one guy has his dog, but none of the men have their wives… why is that? What does that communicate about being a man – all you need is your truck and a dog? What’s the message here telling men about what it means to be a man?
- The End Will Come, But We Won’t Know When. In Matthew 24:36-39 Jesus clearly says, “About the day and hour no one knows.” Judgment will come, that much is certain. But we do not know when. If someone comes telling you that the end will come on a certain day, I think it’s fair to cross that date off as a legitimate option. The point: We should be ready for “the end” to come any day.
- Judgment Will Be Complete, No One Will Escape (even if they’re in a Chevy truck). 2 Peter 3:10 and Acts 2:19-20 both point to natural disasters as one of the means through which God will judge the Earth. God has never lost a game of hide-and-seek. God’s judgment should make us fear! By God’s grace, those of us who are trusting in Christ Jesus will also be judged, but we have an Advocate who has already taken our punishment upon himself (Romans 8:1-2, 31-33).
- God Judges In Order To Re-Create. God does not delight in destruction, he rejoices in re-creation, redemption, and restoration. Revelation 21:1-5 opens the final two chapters of the Bible where we are given a glimpse of the New Heavens & New Earth. God’s Judgment is our HOPE, not our destruction.
DECIDE what to do
Do we actually believe this stuff? This is why we need to evangelize, send missionaries, and talk about the Gospel of Jesus Christ with people… because we actually believe this will happen and we don’t want people to perish under judgment, we want them to find life and hope because of God’s judgment!
If we don’t believe that the end of the world actually will happen (not because a Mayan calendar tells us it will) then live and let live and don’t worry about any of this. I’m not going all wacky and gloom-and-doom on you here… Scripture clearly teaches that there will be an end. Are you ready for it?
And are you ready to take the opportunities you’re provided with to encourage people to Hope in Christ? We’re going to hear a lot of talk about this Mayan Apocalypse… be prepared to contribute to the conversation. Use this commercial in your conversations.
Take the liberty to tell people, “Jesus is my Chevy truck. I’m not going to be safe because of anything I’ve done. I believe that Jesus is the only one who can keep me secure when God decides the end is here and it’s time for judgment.”