Now they call it “fake news.” In the past, it’s been called, “misinformation,” “spin,” “propaganda,” and just plain old “lies.” You hear the term often in the news today, especially in relation to politics. Fake news is the deliberate spread of false information, in some form of media, with intent to gain politically or financially.
The term may be recent, but the idea of spreading fake news to cover up the truth is nothing new. A few weeks ago, I wrote a column and referenced the 1800 presidential election between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Each candidate had their own favorite newspapers pouring out their own version of fake news on the opposing candidate. But the idea of spreading misinformation for political, financial and personal gain goes way back further than that.
They had finally gotten rid of that troublemaker from Galilee. Jesus had been crucified, and was buried in a tomb. But the Jewish chief priests and Pharisees remembered that Jesus had said something about rising from the dead. What if Jesus’ followers took the body from the grave, and then claimed that he had risen from the dead? Jesus would continue to be a thorn in their side, even after his death. So they made sure the tomb was secure, with a large stone covering the entrance, and Roman soldiers guarding it. That was it. They were finally through with Jesus.
Or so they thought. Early in the morning on the third day after Jesus’ crucifixion, the soldiers who had been guarding the tomb came and reported amazing news. Jesus was gone! Not that the disciples had stolen the body, but that an angel had rolled the stone away, and Jesus had risen from the grave!
The Jewish leaders knew that if this news ever got out, it would change everything they had worked so hard for. This would lead to more unrest by the Jewish population. It would upset the already strained relationship between the Jews and their Roman occupiers. They knew it was time for some “fake news.” So they paid the soldiers a large sum of money and told them to say that they fell asleep that night, and the body was stolen by the disciples. So the fake news story was spread inorder to cover up the truth. But the truth did not get covered up.
Because, as we all have learned in many areas of our lives, the truth will eventually come out. And three days after the crucifixion, the Truth did come out, out of the tomb. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6) A grave could not hold the Truth, and the opposition could not bury the Truth. The risen Truth would appear to his followers, and they would spread the message. The fake news of the Jewish leaders would be overcome by the Truth of Jesus Christ. And it is the Truth that would change the world.
But it seems the world around us today is once again trying to bury the Truth. Being a follower of Jesus seems so outdated in this modern, pragmatic world. How can Jesus be relevant in this Facebook, smart phone, and internet world? Jesus is considered so analog in this digital world.
But the Truth will not be buried. We may roll the stone over the entrance, with the busyness and constant distractions in our lives. But the Truth is there. The Truth we may have heard as a child. Or maybe from one of those followers of Jesus we come in contact with from time to time. The Truth is there. When the hustle of the day is done, the phone is on the charger, in the quiet of late at night, the Truth is there. Isn’t it time to let Jesus roll away that stone in your life? Then the fake news that this world offers will give way to the Good News. The Good News of this Easter that says, “He is not dead, he is rise
Mac McPhail, raised in Sampson County, lives in Clinton and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org