Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
The power of God's Word is amazing. In Acts chapter six Stephen was doing no more than speaking the truth. The Holy Spirit was working in him and he was doing miraculous things, all by the Holy Spirit to confirm the Word of God he was speaking. Those powerful acts were capturing attention. They were also stirring up discord. The holy ones among the Jews, seeing the works, and hearing the proclamation of God's truth, wanted Stephen stopped. He was not understanding the Scripture in the same way they were. So they set a trap, which was successful in bringing Stephen before the Jewish court.
I notice today a very interesting question, found in Acts 7:1. "Are these things true?" The court actually wants to know what Stephen has been saying and doing. The deceptive witnesses gathered against him were telling falsehoods about Stephen, about Jesus' claims, and the goals of the Christians. "Are these things true?"
If we were to make this into a movie today, sadly, the Scripture would likely be twisted. Stephen would go on trial. The high priest, confronted with his misunderstanding of Scripture and his unbelief, and plagued by his dysfunctional family, would believe Stephen (oh, wait, it better be Stephanie) and would repent. The whole court would be converted and Stephanie would become the religious leader everyone would trust. Maybe her boyfriend would even believe!
The truth claims in God's Word don't always work out that way. Stephen proceeds to tell the truth. He explains the history of Israel and how it all leads up to Jesus as the Messiah. The truth so inflames the court that they move right into judgment, have Stephen stoned, and bring him to his eternal destiny earlier than he and his family might have expected.
In the end, though, Stephen is completely unharmed. He becomes a heroic figure in the early Church. He sees Jesus welcoming him. The incident, at which Saul of Tarsus was present, sets Luke up to tell about the work of the Holy Spirit in Saul. God's Word is spread and the number of converts far exceeeds those people involved in the trial.
When we tell the truth we might stir up some disputes. Some who ask us to explain ourselves really only want to bring us to court, at least a court in which they act as the judge, jury, and executioner. It's fine. We tell the truth anyway. After all, if we believe Jesus really carried our sin and guilt and defeated death on our behalf, what do we have to fear? There's no harm that can befall us. Just like Stephen, we recognize that truth is truth. We speak and act in accord with it. We believe the Holy Spirit is able to work through the Word of God and accomplish His will. Our job, like that of Stephen, is simply to be faithful.
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