Daily Truth Bible Study Acts 7:22-60 Last time, we saw Stephen get called into temple court to face charges of blasphemy, treason, and the like. Did he do a good job of defending himself? Let’s find out.
Wow. Stephen accomplished several things with his sermon. It was really a sermon more than merely a defense. Stephen had a great opportunity to explain the plan of God and he did just that. Instead of simply trying to save his own life, Stephen launched into a sermon to end all sermons.
Stephen showed his knowledge of history. He showed his knowledge of God. He showed his knowledge of the Jewish traditions. He also showed how he was part of what God was doing. The problem arose when he connected Jesus to God’s redemptive work.
Verse 51 begins Stephen’s downfall. Stephen showed how the peoples’ rejection of Jesus was actually rejection of God and he connected this to the rebellion of Jews in the past.
Wow. Verses 51-53 show how Stephen took the message straight to the audience. He did not stall, waiver, weave, duck, or anything else other than take the truth directly to the audience. He told them they were the same as their ancestors who were stubborn and who rejected God. They were also guilty because they rejected God when they rejected Jesus.
They not only rejected Jesus, they were guilty of killing Him…; this must have stung deeply into the souls of the Jews.
Ok, let’s fast-forward into 2009. What would a preacher today have done if placed into Stephen’s position in front of the religious court? Would they seek for conscensus, try to find a common point where everyone could agree then spin the truth until the audience would not be offended (or understand the indictment), or avoid the truth altogether and talk about pop-psychology topics and hope to be released due to the boredom of the crowd?
Stephen did not do any of this. What was the result of Stephen’s truthful sermon? Verse 54 says that the crowd was cut to the heart when they heard Stephen’s message and they gnashed at him with their teeth. I would say Stephen stepped on some toes…wouldn’t you?
Previously, we saw how Peter presented the truth to his audiences and some, even many, believed. This would not be the case this time. Verses 57-58 says they stopped their ears, ran at him, and took him out of the city and stoned him.
Sometimes, it just bees that way…as the line from the old movie goes. Stephen was the first martyr of the new church but he would certainly not be the last. Many have died for the gospel since that day. Many more will die if Christ taries. God only knows why things must happen this way but we can rest assured like Stephen that all is well when God is near.
Verses 59-60 tell how Stephen called out to his Lord and asked for the throng to be forgiven. Stephen had his priorities in the correct order. He did not sacrifice the eternal on the altar of the temporal. May we follow his example with God’s help.