A trouble free church doesn’t exist. Complaints and racial friction within, persecution without, happens right at the start. This didn’t stop the Apostles and it shouldn’t stop you.
Here we clearly see God’s wonderful grace and mercy at work.
Just prior, Peter has said to the Jewish church leaders, “The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree.”
This is a deep truth, the stone that the builders (those leaders) rejected.
But here we read! “And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.”
A great many of the leaders turned to Jesus!
Hallelujah, what a Saviour! That even those that killed the Son of God could turn and be saved by that same one they killed – Who would think of such a upside-down plan?
And second – It’s so interesting to me that we first see Stephen being raised as a deacon to serve tables, while the apostles were dedicating themselves to prayer and the preaching of God’s word (very important stuff).
And yet, it is Stephen who we read is being filled brighter and brighter with God’s light, shining so much (spiritually and physically, his face like that of an angel) that the enemies of God make up false testimony (the same as they did with Jesus) to take him down.
In whatever purpose God has for us, whatever path He leads us down, whatever He puts our hands to do – We can reflect His glory, bring Him honor, we can point people to Jesus!
* Gracious Lord,
Thank You that in Stephen we can see a fallen man obediently walking under Your will, gripped with a desire to serve You, to tell people about You. To bring Your truth to the world around.
Thank You that he points us to Jesus, who always spoke the truth.
Help us to listen to Jesus, and to point people to Him – Please God we pray this.