The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
Of the men selected to care for the needs of widows in Acts 6:1-7, one, Stephen, has a story which continues through the rest of chapter 6. In verses 8-15 we find that he has been engaging others in debates. He is solid and persuasive. Because of his abilities, there are people from all over the Mediterranean world coming to faith in Christ.
While Stephen can’t be overcome by debate, he can be arrested. In verse 11 there are witnesses who say he is speaking against Moses and even making threats to destroy the temple as Jesus had threatened earlier. Stephen is brought up on these charges.
How do we react when people tell falsehoods about us? Do we appear with a face like an angel, as the text says Stephen did when he faced the Sanhedrin? If we allow God’s Word to speak through us we should be able to expect that the Lord will overcome. When we cling to our own abilities and attempt to force an issue to go the way we might think it should we are likely to appear adversarial. This shuts down communication. It may hinder the persuasiveness of the Gospel.
Christians are, above all, a people who are charged by God to tell the truth. May we have grace abundant enough to support us even in difficult times, such as those endured by Stephen.
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