Predictably, the results rapidly snowballed. Public trust began to erode and members soon began dropping and deleting their accounts over privacy concerns. Even celebrities got in on the act. Ultimately, advertisers representing nearly 3,000 companies also took notice.
Realizing what they were now dealing with, the media giant finally owned up to the matter and tried to address it. But it may have been a case of too little too late. Perhaps remembering the lessons of the dot-com bubble, investors had already grown scared. A $50 billion loss in the value of their stock has now ensued. Ouch!
All of this was bad enough. But then came the events of Easter week and Good Friday in particular. A Catholic university in Ohio had a Good Friday ad for its master’s degree program in theology, catechetics, and evangelization rejected. When they inquired as to why, they were told it was because the ad had purportedly contained “shocking and excessively violent” content.
And just what was that “shocking and excessively violent” content? You guessed it - the ad contained was a picture of Jesus hanging on the cross.
At first, the social media site claimed it was simply an algorithm that rejected the ad. However, it was quickly revealed that nine other such ads had not been rejected. Accepting the obvious, that a low level staffer with an ax to grind against Christianity may well have dissed the ad, an apology eventually was issued.
Nonetheless, the last thing the tech giant needed at this moment in time was to be perceived as denigrating the faith of 1.1 billion people on the planet, and thereby alienating many of them, most especially during the holiest week of Christianity.
Now, many might see the tech giant’s woes as "poetic justice" for just such shenanigans. (Or, in this case, should we say "social justice"?) However, to his credit, Tom Crowe, the web communications director for the Franciscan University of Steubenville, the school in question, chose to use this as a teachable moment.
He pointed out that having a picture of Jesus on the cross rejected on the very day set aside to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus was, in reality, merely a picture of what Good Friday is all about in the first place.
For on that most significant of days, when Jesus Christ bore the sins of men and women on that old rugged cross, he was actually suffering the ultimate rejection of men and women.
Eight centuries before the events of that day, the Old Testament prophet, Isaiah, foresaw this day, and wrote the following (chapter 53, verses 1-13):
1Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
And yet, the amazing thing is that Jesus, knowing He had been rejected by men and women everywhere, still chose to die on the cross on their behalf. Isaiah affirms this as he continues his oracle in verses 4-12:
4Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
6We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. 9He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. 12Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
And there you have it – the One Who could have called twelve legions of angels (72,000) to His aide in a split second still chose to go to the cross. And even as He once hung there, nailed to that cross and enduring mankind’s ridicule, He still prayed “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing!” And because of this, the penalty for sin was finally paid! God’s justice was satisfied!
Thomas Barrabi, “Delete Facebook: Celebrities, Companies Severing Ties Over Privacy Concerns”, Fox Business News, March 29, 2018. https://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/delete-facebook-celebrities-companies-severing-ties-over-privacy-concerns.
Caleb Parke, “Facebook Apologizes for Blocking Catholic University’s Ad of Jesus on the Cross”, Fox News, April 4, 2018. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/04/04/facebook-apologizes-for-blocking-catholic-university-s-ad-jesus-on-cross.amp.html.