Text: Acts 7:1-16
For God to ground your faith in His past deeds
For God to ground your hope in His promises
For immigrants around the world
THE TENSION IS RISING as Stephen confronts his accusers in tribunal. They have laid serious charges against him, and there is violence hanging in the air. The efforts against Peter and John went nowhere, so the energy to crush this movement is now approaching fever pitch.
That Stephen is both serene and severe under the guidance of the Holy Spirit is an extra level of provocation. The story presents him as at one level unconcerned about the growing fury of the men around him, but his retelling of the story of God at work among his people is a series of rapier jabs, every word a sharp thrust at his opponents.
What is important to notice is that Stephen, following the earlier example of Peter, is able to recount the story of God at work in the life of his people. While Peter tells the story of his life experience with the Lord Jesus, it is not simply a free floating “this is my truth;” no, Peter—and Stephen after him—connect their stories with the greater story of God at work from the beginning. It is not “their truths;” it is God’s truth, God’s story, as it rolls from the calling of Abraham to the very moment where Stephen stands on the pavement before his accusers.
A worthwhile exercise is to write down your story of faith—where did God intervene for you? What was a moment of trial and loss? How did the Lord redeem you from that moment? What has been a moment of blessing? How has God poured his Spirit on you? These questions unfold over a lifetime, and it is of great spiritual value, when Satan comes your way and accuses you, to be able to point to that moment when you were baptized, when you were pulled out of bondage, when you were blessed. As you revisit that story, you will see the connections of your own life to the larger work that God is doing in the world; such knowledge will be used by the Holy Spirit in your moment of trial…
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks