Credit:porcorex; Credit:B4LLS

The story of Barabbas and Jesus (Matthew 27:15–23) is a powerful example of the eternal battle between good and evil and how easily false stories and fake news can change the world. 

Pilate, the Roman governor, gave the people a choice between Jesus, who had done nothing wrong, and Barabbas, who was allegedly a criminal. To Pilate’s surprise, the people shouted for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be crucified.

Swayed By False Narratives

People did not make this choice by accident or out of the blue. The religious leaders stirred up the crowd by saying that Jesus was a threat to their way of life and traditions, which was not true. They also spread lies and rumours about Jesus, twisting his teachings and manipulating the people’s fears and prejudices to turn them against him.

In today’s world, we are constantly bombarded with conflicting stories and fake news. The internet and social media have made it easy for anyone to spread lies and propaganda. It can be hard to know whom to trust and what to believe. It is easy to get caught up in the hype and emotions of the moment and make decisions that we later regret.

Be Watchful And Discerning

It is so easy to quickly jump to conclusions or rush to make judgements based on hearsay. However, we must be careful not to believe false stories and fake news that distort the truth and present false information.

As Christians, we are called to be watchful and discerning, to test everything, and to hold fast to what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21). We must pursue the truth, prayerfully consider the options, and make informed decisions based on the truth.

Guard Your Hearts And Minds

We need to be intentional about filling our minds with the truth of God’s Word, which is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105). We must strive to think and act according to God’s will, not the world’s. 

We must guard our hearts and minds against the world’s influence, with its values and priorities often at odds with God’s Word. 

Final Words

The story of Barabbas and Jesus is a powerful reminder of the consequences of false narratives and fake news. It teaches us to be careful in a world full of propaganda and stories that contradict each other. 

As Christians, we are called to pursue the truth, guard our hearts and minds, and make informed decisions based on God’s Word. May we be faithful and vigilant in all that we do, always seeking to honour God and serve his kingdom.

Samuel Thambusamy is a PhD candidate with the Oxford Center for Religion and Public Life.