Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 242/260: Stephen

Read Acts 6-7

Reactions To The Truth

The seven men chosen to serve the widows in Acts 6 were “men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom” (Acts 6:3). One of those men was Stephen. Luke says that Stephen was “full of faith and power” and that he “did great wonders and signs among the people” (Acts 6:8). Yet, his teaching got him into trouble with some who did not believe; they “set up false witnesses” (Acts 6:13) and accused Stephen of blasphemy.

The high priest heard the accusation and asked Stephen, “Are these things so?” (Acts 7:1). Rather than defend himself against the charges, Stephen used the time he was given to preach the good news of Jesus. He began by talking about Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph, about Moses and the wilderness wanderings, about Joshua and David and Solomon. He quoted from the prophets Amos and Isaiah.

Stephen then turned his attention to his audience. “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it” (Acts 7:51-53).

Their reaction was quite different than the reaction of the people on Pentecost. Instead of recognizing their great need, Stephen’s audience was stubborn and hard-hearted. They “gnashed at him with their teeth” (Acts 7:54), “they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord” (Acts 7:57), and then they stoned the righteous Stephen.

How do you react when you hear the truth, and that truth speaks against you? Do you seek to correct your shortcomings so that you can serve God appropriately, as He has commanded, or do you ignore the man who has told you what God expects?

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