Stephen: Spirit-given boldness and forgiveness in action – Leawood – Church of the Resurrection

Posted By on August 6, 2022

Daily ScriptureTHURSDAY 8.4.22 Acts 6:5, 8-12, 7:54-60

Acts 6

5 This proposal pleased the entire community. They selected Stephen, a man endowed by the Holy Spirit with exceptional faith, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.

8 Stephen, who stood out among the believers for the way Gods grace was at work in his life and for his exceptional endowment with divine power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Opposition arose from some who belonged to the so-called Synagogue of Former Slaves. Members from Cyrene, Alexandria, Cilicia, and Asia entered into debate with Stephen. 10 However, they couldnt resist the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke. 11 Then they secretly enticed some people to claim, We heard him insult Moses and God. 12 They stirred up the people, the elders, and the legal experts. They caught Stephen, dragged him away, and brought him before the Jerusalem Council.

Acts 7

54 Once the council members heard these words, they were enraged and began to grind their teeth at Stephen. 55 But Stephen, enabled by the Holy Spirit, stared into heaven and saw Gods majesty and Jesus standing at Gods right side. 56 He exclaimed, Look! I can see heaven on display and the Human One [or Son of Man] standing at Gods right side! 57 At this, they shrieked and covered their ears. Together, they charged at him, 58 threw him out of the city, and began to stone him. The witnesses placed their coats in the care of a young man named Saul. 59 As they battered him with stones, Stephen prayed, Lord Jesus, accept my life! 60 Falling to his knees, he shouted, Lord, dont hold this sin against them! Then he died.

In Acts 6, the earliest church identified seven people to care more effectively for widows who felt passed over. Luke identified one of them, Stephen, as standing out because of the remarkable ways the Holy Spirit was at work in his life. But that exceptional faith and boldness had a cost. Stephens Spirit-empowered words (cf. Acts 7:48-53) so enraged many of the same religious leaders who had demanded Jesus' death that they didnt even seek Roman approval, but stoned Stephen to death.

Lord Jesus, Resurrection is big and respected. But through this church, the Spirit calls me to live above and beyond my cultures values and wishes. Give me the daring to keep letting the Spirit guide my life. Amen.

* William Barclay, The Gospel of Luke (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1975, p. 77.

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Stephen: Spirit-given boldness and forgiveness in action - Leawood - Church of the Resurrection

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