Summary: Stephen had tried to convince Sanhedrin about their graceless character and arrogant behavior. He cites examples from history as well as their ancestors' conduct towards prophets and godly but died as Martyr.
Acts 7:51-60 Revelation through Death of Deacon Stephen
7:51-53 Confrontational Preaching of Stephen
7:54, 57-58 Conditions of the Ungodly
7:55-56, 59-60 Confident of Stephen
Acts 7: 51-53 Confrontational Preaching
Stephen had tried to convince them about their graceless character and arrogant behavior. He cites examples from history as well as their ancestors' conduct towards prophets and godly. The present Sanhedrin had its part in condemning, betraying, and murdering the Son of God, and they never repented for such a notorious and ungodly act. They were not only habitual in opposing the preachers and the prophets but the Holy Spirit who was indwelling in the hearts of the prophets and servants of God. The council of the Sanhedrin took as an opportunity to condemn Stephen and eradicate the righteous people by their evil acts.
Acts 7: 54, 57-58 Conditions of the Ungodly
The religious heads, the devotees of the Temple were blind followers of the rites and ceremonies. They never gave place for the Holy Spirit to work in them; they were unyielding to the paradigm shift and unwilling to accept the revelation of God for spiritual maturity. They had the interest to safeguard their administrative system with the aim of personal gain, benefits, and respect in the society. They loved the system and its practices rather than God and his intervention in the day to day life situations. They were haughty to accept the Truth of God. They were mere people of a tummy and had the lust for the evil things in life. Luke uses strong words to indicate the attitude of the leaders and people, such as enraged, grounded their teeth, covered their ears, shouted, all rushed together to stone at him, they dragged him out of the meeting place.
Acts 7: 55-56, 59-60 Confident of Stephen
Deacon Stephen faced the issue with clarity, love, and a forgiving spirit. So, quickly his life ended on the earth. His life has recorded within two chapters of Acts of the Apostles. The great orator, preacher, a man of faith and full of Holy Spirit had murdered by severe capital punishment of the day. He became the seed of the Church as the first martyr for the Gospel. He has had ill-treated and rejected by the so-called religious group. Every generation has seen these kinds of Acts in Christendom, even today in many churches and organizations mute people who raise their voice for justice and speak the truth. It has been the human attitude to isolate the right people. His conviction in Messiah and his confidence in his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, his courage to face death with love proved his sainthood. The great reward for his faithfulness was that the heavens opened to witness the event, Jesus stood at the right hand of God the Father to receive him into a heavenly abode. Stephen attested his sainthood by following the footsteps of Jesus Christ in suffering, at the same time showing love and forgiveness to his enemies, and submitting his Spirit in the hands of God.
1. Is confrontational preaching relevant today or present the Gospel only with love and deeds?
2. Find out the words used by the Gospel writer to refer to the actions, reactions, and attitude of the hearers of Stephen’s sermon.
3. Death of Stephen: was it premature and untimely?
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