Reading through the Bible together
The church in Jerusalem is continuing to grow. Amazingly the apostles have already come through imprisonment and seen the prison doors miraculously open (Acts 5). And they continued to teach and preach boldly. But now friction has begun to arise between the Greeks and Hebrews, as the Grecians feel that their widows are being neglected. So what do the apostles do? Wisely, they recognize they can’t do everything, so they begin the process of delegation. They select seven deacons to look after the physical needs of the church. But these deacons can’t be just any kind of men. They need to be honest men, men full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom. Here is where we meet Stephen for the first time.
Stephen is a man of faith and filled with the Holy Spirit. As a result, many miracles accompany his life and ministry. In fact, when he speaks, the Bible tells us that they [the people of that day] could not resist the wisdom and spirit that accompany his words. And as a result, he too was soon brought before the Council. However, despite their evil tactics and the slanderous words of false witnesses, Stephen stands strong. “And all that sat in the Council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel” (vs. 15). What a testimony!
In the book Education, we are told: “The greatest want of the world is the want of men, men who will not be bought or sold; men who in their inmost souls are true and honest; men who do not fear to call sin by its right name; men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole; men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall” (p. 57). Stephen was such a man. God is calling us, men and women, to the same high standard today. While the world may be falling apart around us, may the Lord help us to be faithful and stand strong for Him. He is coming soon! May we be ready!
Melody (Melodious Echo) Mason
Author, ARME Prayer Ministries Leader