Fake news or great news?
Fake news! Everywhere I seem to turn I keep hearing about fake news. Two years ago it was a phrase seemingly unheard of – now we’re told it’s one of the greatest threats to democracy, free speech and open debate. Of course, despite what Donald Trump tells us, it’s actually not a new phenomenon, and although its reach has now been greatly extended by the use of new communication technology, it clearly isn’t something simply birthed by social media and the invention of internet. Both Governments and powerful individuals have used information and rumour as a weapon since humans first learned to communicate. It’s been used to quash rebellion, spin misinformation, challenge prevailing views and boost popularity.
However, part of the problem of this phrase now appearing everywhere and challenging any contrary view point to its own, is that we’re often left wondering if the accusation of “fake news”, is actually itself fake news?! All sorts of things – conspiracy theories, lies, spin, mistakes, and reporting that people just don’t like – are rolled into it, often leaving people not knowing who to believe or trust any more.
…And into the midst of all this global scepticism, falls our Easter story.
For the first time since 1956, Easter Sunday (when we remember Christ’s resurrection) lands on April 1 – April Fool’s Day! For pub quiz buffs, this won’t happen again until 2029.
Certainly the truth of this resurrected Christ terrified the ruling powers. Matthew’s gospel, in chapter 28, gives us insight into their “fake news” idea, “They gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, ‘You are to say, “His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.” If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.’ So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed.”
So was the resurrection story all a trick, a hoax, a well-planned narrative to cover the disappointment of Jesus’s death? Certainly, Frank Morison, a journalist and cynical sceptic, thought so and set about proving that Christ’s resurrection was merely a longstanding myth by writing a book about his gathered evidence. However, the more he delved into the facts, the more of a believer he became, finally coming to the dramatic conclusion that this man Jesus, crucified at the age of 33 by the Roman authorities, did indeed physically rise from the dead. The book is called “Who moved the stone?”
Perhaps in the marketplace, Easter bunnies and eggs seem to win “hands down” over Christ, the cross of Calvary, and the empty tomb. But this Easter let’s again share the truth and remember we have “Great News!” Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the Life.” (John 11:25) He is the source of both. Jesus does more than give life; He is life, and that’s why death has no power over Him, and for those who trust in Him we too share in His
magnificent triumph over death.
Have a wonderful Easter!
Priest in Charge Loves church pioneering, family, guitars, Macs, jeeps and Jesus, not necessarily in that order...