As I glanced through the pages of the morning paper Tuesday, a picture on the international news page got my attention...I knew it was something I had seen before. I took a closer look, and sure ‘nuf, the dateline was Jerusalem and the picture was of a renovated shrine in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is where tradition suggests is the site of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
When Deana and I visited the Holy Land two summers ago, I recall hearing them announce the Edicule — basically a fancy shrine that houses the cave where tradition says Jesus was buried — would be undergoing renovation work soon. I recall the shrine well, as after waiting in a long line I literally had to fold up my body to get through the small door to enter such holy ground. As I read the news item, my attention was diverted from the picture of the spruced up shrine to the caption beneath it, which read, “....the Edicule, the shrine that tradition says houses the cave where Jesus was buried and rose to heaven.”
What? I read it again. Apparently, someone with the Associated Press needs to brush up on their New Testament history, as Christians certainly do not believe the cave where Jesus Christ was buried (and discovered empty three days later) is the location from where he “rose to heaven.” We know that Jesus, did indeed rise again, but it was by way of ascension that he left for heaven...40 days later, and take-off was most likely from Mount Olivet.
I let the reporter’s mistake slip my mind until mid-day when I noticed a blog posting in my email sent from a popular ministry which tackled the subject of the international news item about the Edicule. The blog writer read the article in a paper far from Oklahoma, it had the same mistake....but even worse. The “rose to heaven” line was also part of the story itself. (Maybe someone at the Tulsa World caught the error in the story, but overlooked the caption.) The blog was pleasantly written and even pointed out that the overall story that accompanied the photograph was interesting and full of valid material and even fascinating when describing the work of the Edicule’s restoration process.
And, still later in the day, I noticed “Jesus Tomb” as the number one hot topic on the Yahoo search engine. Sure enough, the Associated Press was correcting its mistake about its messed up reference.
As a small town newspaper guy, who has certainly made my share of mistakes over the past 35 years, it’s kind of reassuring to see that even those who make it to the big league can mess up and have to fess up when something’s not right!
As Easter approaches, may Christians everywhere be moved to share the accurate story of the life, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior! I think sometimes we hesitate to do so in fear of doing exactly what the AP reporter did – make a mistake.
That’s when we need to remember to share the Scriptures the best we know how, and count on our heart knowledge to be most convincing. If Jesus Christ has changed your heart, that’s a story worth telling. And there’s nobody who can tell it better than you.