Daily Devotion in Acts 6
Stephen and the Seven
In Acts chapter 6, we find an early church growing by leaps and bounds. It was flourishing so much that the twelve apostles could not meet the needs of all their congregation. They needed help, so they chose seven more to assist them.
One of the seven was Stephen. It was not long until Stephen was allowing himself to be used by the Holy Spirit. God was using him to do great and marvelous things (Acts 6:8).
Soon, success stirred up animosity from the “religious” crowd (Acts 6:9-14). Priests, the intellectual scribes, and others expressed their outrage against Stephen. Arguing against him ensued. False witnesses stood against the servant of God, accusing him of things he had not done. The unrighteous religious were at it again — trying to silence someone trying to do something for God.
Why did it happen? The Bible does not clarify other than to say that Stephen’s wisdom was too great for them to understand (Acts 6:10). I would not be surprised that conviction from what Stephen was saying and that his “religion” had more power than their dead traditions had had much to do with their trying to silence him.
In all that they brought against this great man of God, his reactions to their persecution must have befuddled and incensed them more. When they looked at Stephen, he was not worried. He showed no fear. The Bible says his face was “… as it had been the face of an angel.” He had a great peace that surpassed their understanding.
The pattern throughout the four gospels, and so far in the book of Acts, is that when one is close to and living for the Lord, the world will hate and persecute him. It is not right. The believers are only doing what the Lord commands and are only doing good. However, the sinful, dark world of sinners will always hate and be convicted of any presence of godly light. It happened then, and it is happening today.
When it does happen, fear, compromising, and retreat are not the answers. Stephen’s behavior in his trial clearly exhibited the proper response. Draw closer to God, and show the world great peace that passes their understanding.
“Is life a puzzle? God has the missing peace!” — Author Unknown
Words to Understand:
Blasphemous: Disrespectful against God
Suborned: encourage to commit a crime or wrongdoing
1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:
6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.
7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
8 ¶ And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.
9 Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.
10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.
11 Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.
12 And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council,
13 And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:
14 For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.
15 And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.