Thank You, God, that nothing can separate me from Your love.
Read Acts 6:8–15
8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia—who began to argue with Stephen. 10 But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.
11 Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.”
12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13 They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”
15 All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectIn Christ’s love, you are safe and secure for all eternity.
Today’s passage reminds me of an old cartoon called Wacky Races. Contestants came up with more and more dastardly ways of sabotaging each other in order to gain an advantage themselves. Stephen, ‘full of God’s grace and power’ (8), is performing miracles – and not everyone likes it. His opposition has come up with all kinds of dirty tricks to take him down, presumably thinking it would be fairly easy. Arguing with him proves pointless – he has the wisdom of God himself through the Holy Spirit (10). So they get some people to lie about him, stir up a mob, get him arrested and plant false witnesses in court.
Sometimes opposition is a sign of how effective we are for the kingdom of God. The world and ‘the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms’ (Ephesians 6:12) are not going to roll over and accept the rule of Jesus. We can expect opposition to our faith, and when it comes, we don’t need to be afraid. Stephen’s face was angelic because it reflected the glory of God, in whose presence he stood (15). We stand in that same presence, and nothing is more powerful than that.
Flip back to Ephesians and read 6:10–17. Consciously think about the whole armor today. Pray through the passage as you ‘put on’ the pieces.
Jesus, I need the power of Your Spirit to walk with me through life today. Fight for me.