Jesus, I want to become more like You. Please change me through the reading of Your Word and by Your Spirit.
Read Acts 6:8-15
 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people.  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.  But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.  Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.”  So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin.  They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law.  For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”  All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat was Stephen like and why did people hate him?
So who is Stephen? Verses 8 and 10 (and also vs. 3,5) give Stephen some seriously good credentials! Stephen is a man recognized as having leadership gifting (earlier in ch. 6) and who is unsurpassed in debates with men from the synagogues, despite their fierce opposition to the message of Christ (9,10). This opposition and Stephen’s subsequent trial bear a striking resemblance to that of Jesus himself. After serious theological debates, lies and false accusations are secretly stirred up (11), and a violent, public showdown involving legal charges of blasphemy ends in death. These charges Stephen is accused of relate to the Temple and the Law, which represented God’s presence and God’s Word for the Jews, so they were the most precious and sacred things. Jesus himself warned that his followers would encounter such opposition (John 15:18-21), but he also promised to be with them through it. Here Stephen knows the truth of this promise; his faithfulness to Jesus’ message and teachings will result in his death, but it also results in an endorsement from God that no one can miss (15).
Pray that the Holy Spirit would continue to produce God’s grace, wisdom and power in you.
Gracious Lord, work in me so that, like Stephen, others will see something of Your life living in me.
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