Lessons from Stephen’s arrest
Acts 6:8 “Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people” NIV Bible
Extra Reading: Acts 6:8-7:50
The New Testament teaches that as the early church grew, apostles found it necessary to select certain ones to serve as deacons. These men were given the responsibility of overseeing the pastoral portion of the work. Seven were chosen as deacons, including Stephen (Acts 6:5). Although the primary role of the deacons was the pastoral work, they also took advantage of opportunities which came to spread the gospel. But before they assumed their responsibilities, the Apostles had laid hands on them (v. 6), conferring on them the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
In verse 8, we are told that Stephen had great faith, and was using the power of the Holy Spirit to do “wonders and miracles among people”. One of the special abilities Stephen evidently had, through the Holy Spirit, was that of speaking to the people in such a way that was very convincing. Some in the synagogue, who began to dispute his message, found that “they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke” (v.10). They found men who agreed to purposefully stir up the people, and also act as false witnesses against Stephen, accusing him of blasphemy. They took him into custody and brought him before the Jewish council-vv.11-14.
The high priest demanded that Stephen defend what he had been preaching. Acts 7:2-50 gives the account of his defense to the council, and it was a good one. One of the important lessons Stephen recalled was how the Israelites refused on many occasions to follow the instructions given to them by God through their leader Moses. Stephen reminded the council that, in reality, God is not to be found in literal temples or buildings (vv. 48, 49).
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, give us the courage of Stephen, to stand for the truth, to defend the truth. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.