Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Stephen's Day In Court -- Acts 7

There Stephen stands with the charges against him. the crowd claimed he was teaching things contrary to the ways of Moses and the prophets. Rather than begin the ritual of did not, did too, Stephen takes his day in court and shows what he has been teaching. As far as teaching about the people called Israel, it is impeccable. Abraham, Issac, Joseph, right up to Moses. I am sure the council hearing Stephen were wondering what the issue was. It seemed what Stephen was saying was complete orthodoxy. Then comes the twist, the accusation. For that Stephen pays with his life, while many watch, including Saul, later known as Paul.

How many of us would have used this course of action? There are two ways this would most likely play out in our culture. First many would not even think to recount the very story we are accused of misrepresenting. Second, many of us would not be willing to put the harsh accusation at the end. Stephen was clearly showing he knew the story God had written with the people of Israel. Showing the accusations against him we unfounded. He probably could have stopped before the accusation and been just fine. However, Stephen knew there was the rest of the story. With boldness, he proclaims the full story of God.

An often overlooked portion of the passage is the fact that Stephen kept himself fully connecting with God through Jesus Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit. This was not merely Stephen speaking, it was the boldness of the Holy Spirit. Often we speak with our own boldness and create a situation where we are on our own more than following after God. The strength showed by Stephen continued to prove he understood the story of God perfectly. Though the result was an earthly death, the kingdom implications continue to shout today. Stephen boldly stood for Christ when there was a lot of pressure to back away. Are we ready to stand?

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